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Conradie in seventh heaven at Randpark

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For a second time this season, Estiaan Conradie conquered at Randpark Golf Club.

But unlike his first pro win at the Firethorn Course, the Pretoria golfer had to dig deep to claim the seventh tournament in the IGT Challenge Tour Race to Q-School at the Bushwillow Course on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old closed with a hard-fought-for five-under-par 67 to edge out older brother Ruan by one shot on a winning total of 13-under 203.

‘This win was way, way harder than the last couple of victories,’ said Conradie of his seventh victory on the country’s premier golf development circuit.

‘There were a tough couple of guys hunting me today. I made a good start, which is always important, especially on the last day when you’re in the mix. I kept my momentum, played solidly and hit the greens, but I also dropped a few. The guys chasing made some birdies, so it got pretty tight down the stretch. It was tough, but I’m happy that I pulled it through.’

Conradie began the final round tied for the lead on eight-under with Philip Geerts from Italy.

The pair held a slender one shot lead over amateur Ruan Groenewald and two-time champion Matt Bright, while Ruan Conradie, Zabastian de Jager and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini lurked a further shot back.

The Wingate Park rookie immediately laid down a marker with an eagle at the par-five first.

He put some more distance between himself and Geerts with birdies at three and five, but let Bright and brother Ruan in the door with bogeys at eight, 11 and 14.

‘I hit a six-iron stiff and boxed the putt for eagle to get off to a solid start,’ said Conradie. ‘My ball striking was really superb and I putted very well, but the chipping was not up to my usual standard.

‘I didn’t up-and-down for par at eight and I missed another par putt at 11. I birdied the next par five (12), but another poor chip at 14 ended in a bogey and I was back at 10 under.’
Bright grabbed a share of the lead with four birdies in a first five holes and another gain at 11, but his challenge ground to a halt with back-to-back bogeys at 14 and 15 to slip back to at 10 under. Neither player could afford to relax with Ruan Conradie on a charge.

The IGT Challenge Tour Money Leader raked in birdies at one three, five and six to get to 10 under and he shot past the leaders with a pair of birdies at 12 and 13.

‘There was no way I was going to let Ruan win two in a row,’ Conradie said. ‘I drove the fairway at 15, hit an eight-iron to a foot and holed the putt for birdie to get within one.

‘I took a hybrid off the tee at 16, hit a nine-iron to a foot and made the putt to tie my brother for the lead. At 17, I drove the fairway again, but my four-iron flew the green. I finally pulled off a great chip shot and hit it to three feet. I made the putt to take the lead going down the last

‘Ruan made par at the last hole, so I knew a par would win it. I didn’t get fancy; just took all four shots to get the par on the card. It’s was a tough fight down the back nine, but I’m thrilled with the way I fought to pull it through.

The Wanna Be A Champion Academy pair have a standing bet involving the family car. ‘Ruan shot 66 to record the low round of the day, which means he gets to drive the car until next week’s tournament, but I don’t mind riding shotgun.

‘I kept my number one spot in the Race to Q-School Order of Merit and increased the gap on him, so he’ll have to win twice to catch me. Not that I’ll let that happen, either.’

Picture of Conrad courtesy of CJ du Plooy

Final Result
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
203 – Estiaan Conradie 69 67 67
204 – Ruan Conradie 69 69 66
206 – Matt Bright 66 71 69
207 – Luke Trocado 69 71 67, Zabastian de Jager 68 70 69
208 – Marco de Beer 71 70 67, Juan Langeveld 71 68 69
210 – Albert Venter 71 70 69, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 72 68 70
211 – John McClean (NIR) 71 71 69, Teagan Moore 72 70 69, Teboho Sefatsa 71 68 72, Nobuhle Dlamini (SWA) 69 69 73, Ruan Groenewald AMA 70 67 74
212 – Ivanna Samu 70 72 70, Jason Roets 69 73 70, Philip Geerts (ITA) 68 68 76
213 – Wayne Stroebel 69 74 70
214 – Jade Buitendag 69 75 70, Johan van der Wath 73 72 69, Adam Botha AMA 72 69 73, Jack Duthie 70 69 75
215 – Basil Wright 76 68 71, Bryce McCabe 71 70 74, Wayne du Toit 75 71 69, Matthew Kiewitz AMA 75 71 69
216 – Eric Nel AMA 72 71 73, Clinton Grobler 72 71 73, Brendan Britten (NAM) 72 74 70
217 – Richard Joubert 73 70 74, Thabi Ngcobo 71 69 77, Maritz Wessels 75 73 69, Duane Keun 76 72 69
218 – Jason Gilliver AMA 72 74 72
219 – Leon Visser AMA 74 70 75, Liam Clinton AMA 75 72 72, Allan Jirek AMA (CZ) 68 79 72, Quintin Crause 75 72 72
220 – Bryce Myburgh 76 69 75, Juran Dreyer AMA 74 71 75, Roberto Lupini 78 69 73
221 – Tudor Bismark (ZIM) 73 71 77, Francesca Cuturi 74 71 76, Romano Saincic 75 72 74, Ruan Korb 70 77 74
222 – Azelia Meichtry AMA 71 72 79, Patrick Thompson 73 75 74
223 – Malachi Schulz AMA 73 73 77
224 – Scott Chambers AMA 73 75 76
225 – Armand Van Dyk AMA 73 74 78
226 – Werner Van Wyk 78 68 80
227 – Gary Jutzen AMA 75 73 79


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