I needed something to steady the ship and knew I might have a chance at nine, McClatchie said. I got on the green for two, but I still had 45 feet left of the pin. The goal was to just lag it as close to the pin as possible, but it kept going and disappeared down the hole. That really gave me the momentum going down the back nine. Source: Pexels

South Africa’s first golfing Olympian Kyle McClatchie put together an impressive back nine at Kyalami Country Club on Tuesday to join fellow Ekurhuleni amateur Tristen Strydom in pole position after two rounds at the IGT Tour’s Kyalami Challenge.

McClatchie overturned a disappointing start with an eagle at the par-five ninth and flourished on the back nine. He reeled in four birdies and finished with a flourish when he eagled the closing hole. His four-under-par 68 saw him pull level with overnight leader Strydom, who posted a 70, at three under 141.

The amateur pair from Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate have a one shot cushion over professionals Martin Rohwer and Gareth Ackers after Rohwer carded a 70 and Ackers claimed the lowest round honours of the tournament with a second round five-under-par 67.

Just a day before the world’s leading lights kick off the Women’s Golf Competition at the Olympic Games in Rio, Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland fired an impressive 70 to join former IGT Tour winner Duane Keun at even-par 144. The pair in joint fifth finished a stroke further adrift.

Strydom’s card was dusted with pars but it also boasted an eagle at the par-five fourth among birdies at 10 and 13 and a pair of bogeys at five and 11.

McClatchie bogeyed two, three and five, but he settled with three successive pars before sinking a huge 45-foot putt for eagle at the par-five ninth.

“I needed something to steady the ship and knew I might have a chance at nine,” McClatchie said. “I got on the green for two, but I still had 45 feet left of the pin. The goal was to just lag it as close to the pin as possible, but it kept going and disappeared down the hole. That really gave me the momentum going down the back nine.”

McClatchie turned one over for his round, but he quickly dipped two under par with a trio of birdies at 11, 12 and 13 and moved to three under after another gain at 15.

“I nearly holed out for two at 11, but the ball lipped out and nudged about a foot and a half past the hole,” he said. “Made some solid putts for birdies at 12 and 13 and a good par putt at 14. I wanted to finish strong over the last couple of holes. The 15th was drivable, so I got a bit more aggressive with the drive and got on the green. I lagged the first putt close and holed the second for birdie.”

McClatchie wanted to take advantage at 17, but misjudged his tee shot. The hole was playing downwind and he wanted to hit it front edge and let it run out to the pin. He caught the front greenside bunker, though, and couldn’t up-and-down for par. But he made amends for the slip with another superb eagle at the closing hole.

“The hole was playing a lot tougher than in the first round with the wind coming hard off the left and pushing the ball towards the water,” he said. “I hit a really good tee shot down the middle and flew a five-iron to the front of the green. The ball pitched and rolled to 15 feet from the pin and I knocked that one in for eagle, as well.”

After a third place finish in the Irene Challenge – which was won by Strydom – and a joint runner-up finish on the Big Easy Tour, McClatchie was pleased to grab a share of the lead as he chases a maiden victory on the country’s premier development Tour.

He was especially happy with how he bounced back after the wobbly start.

“I put some pressure on myself because I’ve played some really good golf lately, so it really wasn’t an ideal start,” said the Wanna Be A Champion player. “After the third bogey, I stayed patient, made some solid pars and then the eagle came at nine.

“My only thought after the turn was that I wanted to put myself in contention on the back nine in the final round, so I needed to get some red numbers on my card. The biggest thing was to take the momentum after the eagle forward, but to stay patient and I’m really pleased that I was able to do just that.”

(competitors RSA unless otherwise specified, amateurs are indicated as AMA)

74 – Nobuhle Dlamini (SWA), Duane Keun, Phillip Montgomery, Matt Saulez AMA, Michael Schutz

141 – Kyle McClatchie AMA (RSA) 73 68, Tristen Strydom AMA (RSA) 71 70

142 – Martin Rohwer (RSA) 72 70, Gareth Akers (RSA) 75 67

144 – Nobuhle Dlamini (SWA) 74 70, Duane Keun (RSA) 74 70

145 – Hilton Hughes AMA (RSA) 73 72

146 – NJ Arnoldi (RSA) 73 73, Garth Wolter (RSA) 75 71

147 – Gregg Blainey (ENG) 75 72, Andi Dill (RSA) 71 76, Matthew Vogel (RSA) 75 72, Simon Kruger (RSA) 75 72, Danie Van Niekerk AMA (RSA) 78 69, Matt Saulez AMA (RSA) 74 73

148 – Ruan Korb AMA (RSA) 79 69, Phillip Kruse AMA (RSA) 77 71, Albert Venter AMA (RSA) 72 76

149 – Terence Boardman (RSA) 78 71, David Rebelo AMA (RSA) 75 74

150 – Matthew Spacey (RSA) 78 72, Theunis Bezuidenhout AMA (RSA) 73 77, Andrew Carlsson AMA (RSA) 79 71, Louis Botha (RSA) 73 77, Werner Van Wyk (RSA) 77 73

151 – Wayne du Toit (RSA) 73 78, Michael Schutz (RSA) 74 77, David McIntyre AMA (RSA) 77 74

152 – Kyle Barker AMA (RSA) 77 75, CJ Levey (RSA) 77 75

153 – Byron Garvie (RSA) 77 76, Phillip Montgomery (RSA) 74 79, Ruhan Van Dijk AMA (RSA) 76 77

154 – Wayne Stroebel (RSA) 84 70, Jacques De Villiers (RSA) 77 77, Quintin Crause AMA (RSA) 79 75, Teagan Moore (RSA) 79 75, Matthew Kiewitz AMA (RSA) 80 74

155 – Ray Badenhorst (ZIM) 75 80, Joshua Seale (RSA) 81 74, Damian Naicker (RSA) 77 78, Jonathan Waschefort (RSA) 79 76, David Nortje AMA (RSA) 77 78

156 – Justin Turner (RSA) 78 78, Ricki Dembo (RSA) 84 72, Louis Albertse AMA (RSA) 81 75, Vico Kuhn (RSA) 76 80, Clinton Grobler (RSA) 77 79, Sheldon Steyn (ZIM) 78 78, Marco De Beer AMA (RSA) 79 77

157 – Michael Pienaar AMA (RSA) 81 76, Lejan Lewthwaite (RSA) 78 79, Phumlani Maluka AMA (RSA) 78 79, Leon Visser AMA (RSA) 77 80

158 – Stefan Cronje AMA (RSA) 83 75, Graham van der Merwe (RSA) 80 78, TJ Bekker (RSA) 79 79, WM Coetzee AMA (RSA) 85 73, Andrew Plint AMA (RSA) 78 80, David Ryan (RSA) 79 79

Missed the cut:-

159 – Cole Dodgen AMA (RSA) 83 76

160 – Dylan Docherty (RSA) 84 76, Chris Wicks AMA (RSA) 86 74, Stephane Van Neer AMA (COD) 82 78, Matthew Hands AMA (RSA) 82 78

161 – Graeme Limper AMA (RSA) 81 80, Matt Wollmann (ZIM) 80 81

162 – Tijana Kraljevic (RSA) 79 83, Jaco Van Der Merwe AMA (RSA) 84 78

163 – Angelo Marques AMA (RSA) 87 76

164 – Duan Nagel AMA (RSA) 85 79

165 – Patrick Thompson (RSA) 86 79

166 – Terence Archibald AMA (RSA) 85 81, Sam Metcalfe AMA (RSA) 82 84, Bryce Myburgh (RSA) 87 79, Daniel Joubert AMA (RSA) 84 82

167 – Nic Watson AMA (RSA) 84 83, Liam Bezuidenhout AMA (RSA) 84 83

168 – Jordan Parsons AMA (RSA) 85 83, Gareth Anderson AMA (RSA) 83 85, Lydon Charnley AMA (RSA) 88 80, Dwayne Coetzee (RSA) 80 88

172 – Nisharlan Sewgolum (RSA) 87 85, Jonty B Shelton AMA (RSA) 92 80, Jeandre Pretorius AMA (RSA) 86 86

173 – Tommie Brits AMA (RSA) 85 88

174 – Mohammed Ismail AMA (RSA) 88 86

175 – Devin Welsh AMA (RSA) 91 84, Stephen Forsyth AMA (RSA) 89 86

177 – Brandon Fisher AMA (RSA) 86 91

181 – Gustav Erasmus (RSA) 84 97, Gary Jutzen AMA (RSA) 95 86

185 – Maverick Faber AMA (FRA) 93 92

RTD – Aubrey Beckley AMA (RSA) RTD