Dreyer surges to early lead in Benoni - TeamSA

Dreyer surges to early lead in Benoni

A brilliant first round of nine-under-par 63 saw Free State rookie Juran Dreyer soar into the lead at the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #12.

The 23-year-old Schoeman Park golfer made a perfect start with five birdies on the bounce and surrendered just one shot at the 9th before reeling in five more gains on the back nine at Lake Club Benoni. Dreyer certainly had the most profitable day, but he was not the only one.

Irene’s Matt Bright, who already ran up a Big Easy IGT double this season, fired a flawless 65 to move within a shot of Dreyer’s lead. He shares second with Centurion golfer Tokkie van den Berg and Stellenbosch rookie Michael James-Steyn.

Ruan Korb, who led the first two rounds of the CMR Golf Club Pro-Am on the IGT Challenge Tour last week, is also within striking distance in fifth at six under.

Botswana’s Stuart Smith – the man who beat Dreyer for victory in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #10 last month – also took full advantage of the fine conditions to finish just four off the pace.

But it was Dreyer who stood at the top of the pile following his outstanding first-round performance, as he continues his hunt for a maiden win.

Only the top 10 golfers on the final ranking will earn playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour at the end of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour series. With only three events after this week before the Big Easy Tour Championship, Dreyer needs another high finish to protect his top 10 ranking in the Road to Sunshine Tour.

‘I’m definitely under pressure to perform,’ said the Bloemfontein bomber. ‘I’m currently ninth in the Road to Sunshine Tour and I can’t afford to slip. To start with five birdies in a row definitely gave me a spurt of confidence.’

Dreyer made amends for his lone bogey in spectacular fashion, plundering a trio of birdies from the 10th and adding a brace at the 15th and 16th to his tally.

‘I was especially happy with the birdie at 15, the toughest par five on the course,’ said Dreyer. ‘I drove it straight down the middle, hit a 6-iron right of the flag. I hit a great lagging putt, downhill right to left, to tap-in distance from 15 foot. At 16, I hit a 7-iron from 185 metres over the water to 10 foot and boxed the putt.’

Leading First Round Scores
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified

63 – Juran Dreyer
65 – Michael-James Steyn, Matt Bright, Tokkie van den Berg
66 – Ruan Korb
67 – Stuart Smith (BOT)
68 – Arno Pretorius, Jason Roets, John McClean (NIR), Cameron Moralee, Conway Kunneke, Dylan Kok, Hayden Griffiths, Blain Sansom
69 – Eric Nel, Divan Marais, Leon Visser, Maritz Wessels, Hendrikus Stoop

Photo: Juran Dreyer, by CJ du Plooy

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