23rd May 2018 | Big Easy Tour
Bruiners bursts clear at Big Easy IGT State Mines
Heinrich Bruiners excelled with a five-under-par 67 to take the second round lead in the third event on this year’s Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour in Germiston.
Despite low temperatures and a stiff breeze at State Mines Country Club, the George golfer made an eagle at the par-five third and plundered six birdies to climb to seven-under 137.
“I drove it right down the middle at three and I smoked a 4-iron Rory McIloy style to tap-in,” joked Bruiners. “We were into the wind and I had 203 metres to the flag, so I hit it with a high draw and it came out beautifully. Great way to get the round going.”
Bruiners claimed the eighth card at the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in March after finishing fifth in the Vusi Ngubeni Q-School, but chose to miss the Africa Swing to work on his game. He was justifiably pleased to see the hard work come to fruition at State Mines.
“I played the whole summer and two Q-Schools and I just felt I needed to stop playing for a while and put in some productive practice,” said the 30-year-old.
“I took a leaf out of the top players’ book; play a little less golf and to work more productively on my game to prepare for the big events. I studied my stats and I worked on shots that will win me tournaments, instead of just hitting balls on the range. It’s been five years since my Vodacom Origins win. I don’t just want to play for the sake of playing anymore. I want to win again.”
Bruiners leads by one from overnight leader Keegan Mclachlan, who returned a 71 and is three shots clear of a six-pack on four under, including seasoned campaigners Thabang Simon and Teboho Sefatsa, former IGT Challenge Tour winners Louis Albertse, Dylan Mostert, Dean O’Riley and rookie Arno Pretorius.
“It’s great to have three Gary Player Class of 2018 players in the top five,” said Bruiners, referring to himself, Simon and 2018 Vusi Ngubeni Q-School champion Sefatsa.
“I played solid in Swaziland, but I just didn’t score. Since we have a Gary Player Class of 2018 Boot Camp coming up next week, I decided to play this week to get the game competitive. And it was a really productive day for me.
“The greens seemed to catch out a lot of guys because they are really firm. They are very similar to the greens at Fancourt though, so that played into my hand. I eagled the third and birdies the other three par fives, and made four birdies to go four-under through 12.
“The wind got a lot stronger over the last four holes and I hit two bad shots for bogeys at 14 and 17, but I was able to cancel both a birdie at 15 and another at 18. I knew I was somewhere around the leaders going down the last, and I wanted to make sure I played in the last group.
“I hit 5-iron off the tee and a 52-degree wedge for my second. It pitched nicely, but rolled out a bit long but I drained the 18-footer for birdie. I’m excited to play in the last group on Wednesday, because it’s nice to be playing under that kind of pressure again. I’m going to play the next IGT in Benoni after boot camp. I want to be ready to fire in the Sun City Challenge at the start of June.”
KwaZulu-Natal amateur Luke Mayo, who was nominated alongside Mclachlan by GolfRSA to compete at State Mines, finished on one-over 145 with rounds of 73 and 72 and made the cut, which fell at two over par.