Rookie Kyle Barker and best mate Dylan Mostert made the most of their friendship to grab a share of the second round lead in the IGT Challenge Tour’s Wanderers Better Ball Challenge on Wednesday.
‘When you have to depend on a partner to win, it doesn’t get any better than playing with your best mate,’ said Randpark’s Barker after combining with amateur Mostert for a 63. The pair joined first round leaders Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Combrinck Smit in pole position at 18 under 124.
‘I know Kyle’s strengths and he knows mine,’ said Mostert from State Mines. ‘We dovetailed well and one of us made birdie or saved par to keep the momentum going. I like this format a lot. You can hit the ball with a bit more freedom than you would in a regular 54-hole stroke play event and it is a nice change, especially for the guys that went through Q-School, like Kyle. It’s a fun week.’
Barker notched birdies at two, four and seven and holed out from 40 feet for eagle at the par-4 eighth, while Mostert added a birdie at six. ‘My birdie putt horse-shoed out at the ninth, but I two-putted for birdie at the 10th to top up my contribution.
‘The back nine plays longer, especially the par fours, and there are less opportunities to make birdie with three short holes. Kyle also two-putted the par five 13th for birdie and we kept it going to the last hole with five straight pars.’
Barker said Mostert’s crucial par save at the last kept them in the mix. ‘We both hit driver down the fairway, but I overshot the green, duffed my chip and two-putted for bogey, so it was down to Dylan,’ he said. ‘He left his second right of the green and his chip shot caught the fringe and just rolled on to the surface, but he drained a 20-foot slider for par.
‘That clutch putt gave us a share of the lead and some nice momentum for the final round. Our strategy will be the same. Stay aggressive and make the most of our opportunities on the front nine and try not to give away shots on the back nine.’
Barker welcomed the change in pace after playing the Race to Q-School Series and going through the First Stage of the Sunshine Tour’s Q-School.
‘Q-School is as brutal as people describe it, because one bad bounce or one roll of the ball can cost you,’ said the 19-year-old GolfWorx member. ‘I got cut at First Stage, but I don’t see it as failure. The experience showed up aspects of my game that need hard work this year, like my tee shots, course management and mental strength.’
Mostert gave Q-School a miss as he’s heading to Kentucky in August to take up a golf scholarship at the University of Louisville. ‘Until I leave, I’m putting in a lot of hard work, too. First, though, I’d like Kyle and me to take this tournament to the finish line. It would be pretty cool to have bragging rights over our coaches (Neil Cheetham and Bryn Flanagan).’
Bezuidenhout and Smit sizzled with a 59 on day one, but the pair only managed an eagle and six birdies in round two for a 65 that kept them in the hunt at 18 under.
Mark Williams and Tyrone Ferreira lag one off the pace after posting 64, and they lead by two shots from Ferreira’s younger brother Steven, who scored a 64 with partner Merrick Bremner.
Meanwhile Musi Nethunzwi and Sipho Bujela took the lead in the Gary Player Class of 2017 battle for glory, combining for a 62 to tie for seventh at 13 under with Anthony Michael and Ryan Tipping.
Picture of Mostert and Barker courtesy of CJ du Plooy
Second Round Scores
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as (AMA)
124 – Kyle Barker & Dylan Mostert (AMA) 61 63; Christiaan Bezuidenhout & Combrinck Smit 59 65
125 – Tyrone Ferreira & Mark Williams 61 64
127 – Steven Ferreira & Merrick Bremner 63 64
128 – Matthew Vogel & Michael Palmer 66 62; CJ Levey & Russel Franz 64 64
129 – Musiwalo Nethunzwi & Sipho Bujela 67 62; Anthony Michael & Ryan Tipping 63 66
130 – Bryn Flanagan & Ruan de Smidt 67 63; Matthew Bright & Matthew Spacey 65 65; Andrew van der Knaap & Brandon Stone 66 64; Neil Schietekat & Ulrich van den Bergh 65 65
131 – Gerard du Plooy & Makhetha Mazibuko 66 65; MJ Viljoen & Zander Lombard 65 66; Divan Marais & Jonathan Waschefort 66 65; Jaco Prinsloo & JC Ritchie 65 66; Arthur Horne SWZ & Eric van Rooyen 71 60
132 – Stuart Smith BOT & Gregg Bentley ENG 68 64; Breyten Meyer & Armand Scholtz 68 64; Antonio Costa CHL & Matias Calderon 69 63
133 – Ockie Strydom & Justin Turner 67 66; Heinrich Bruiners & Irvin Mazibuko 63 70
135 – Neil Cheetham ENG & Peter Wilson ENG 69 66; Teddy Mathebula & Jabulane Mabilane 69 66
136 – Ruan Conradie & Estiaan Conradie 71 65
137 – Leon Visser (AMA) & Bradley Diggeden (AMA) 66 71; Thabang Simon & John Bele 66 71; Dylan Docherty & Rhys West 72 65
Missed the cut:-
138 – Bryce Myburgh & Cameron Gunning 68 70; Bryce McCabe & Mohammed Ismail (AMA) 72 66; Maverick Faber FRA (AMA) & Guillaume Bernier (AMA) 72 66
139 – Dylan Morton (AMA) & Ivanna Samu 70 69
140 – WM Coetzee (AMA) & Eric Nel (AMA) 70 70
154 – Zillan du Pisani (AMA) & Jacques Snyman NAM (AMA) 74 80