GOLF NEWS - KwaZulu-Natal amateur Clayton Mansfield fired his way to the summit in the IGT Challenge Tour Race to Q-School #5 with nine birdies in the first round at Houghton Golf Club on Tuesday.
The Durban Country Club golfer navigated the par-72 layout in 65 strokes to open up a two-shot lead on seven under over Parkview rookie Rupert Kaminski and Killarney Country Club’s Neal Herman.
Amateur duo Darin de Smidt from Krugersdorp and Pretoria’s Werner Deyzel are two further shots adrift alongside Hayden Griffiths and Kyle Barker, an IGT and Big Easy Challenge Tour winner.
Mansfield reached the turn in three under after bouncing back from a bogey at the second with three birdies on the bounce and a fourth gain at the par four eighth.
After another birdie at 10, he had another run of three birdies from 13 and recovered marvellously from a bogey at 17 with a birdie finish to take pole position.
“Shooting 65 at Houghton in the pouring rain was pretty awesome,” said the GolfRSA National Squad player. “The weather was perfect when I arrived, but as soon as I finished my warm-up in the locker-room and walked out, the skies opened.
“I started with a solid par, but I hit my drive in the rough at the second. Worked it to just short of the green with a 5-iron, but I failed to get up-and-down for par. It didn’t upset me, because there was 16 holes to go and the conditions were really tough. I just kept myself patient, because there are four score-able par fives out there.”
Mansfield took advantage of the first par five to get back to level, birdied the downhill fourth and made another good four at the par five sixth.
“I think that recovery gave me some nice momentum and set me up for a good scoring round,” said Mansfield.
He split the fairway at eight with a 3-iron and hit gap-wedge in to 10-foot to set up his next fourth birdie of the day. After another good drive, Mansfield’s 4-iron into the par five came up just short of the green.
“I nearly chipped it in for eagle, but I made the birdie putt,” he said. “Then I had another great little run from 13. I went with the 3-iron off the tee again, and hit lob-wedge to three foot. At the par three, I hit 8-iron to five foot. At the last par five, I hit my driver just in the rough on the right. I cut it around the trees to short left of the green and two-putted for another birdie.
“I got my hand stuck in the till at 17, because I missed the fairway right into the trees and I knew I had half a chance of getting it to the green. I ended up leaving my second in the trees and ended up chipping and putting for five.
“I actually misjudged my wedge at 18, and left it short but I chipped it in for birdie. All-in-all I was very happy with the way I played and handled myself in the conditions. It’s been coming because the results maybe didn’t show it, but I been playing nicely since the first Race to Q-School.
“It’s nice to pick up momentum and to see the hard work paying off now with the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School Final Stage coming closer, especially in those challenging conditions.”
First Round Scores
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as AMA
65 - Clayton Mansfield AMA
67 - Neal Herman, Rupert Kaminski
69 - Darin De Smidt AMA, Hayden Griffiths, Werner Deyzel AMA, Kyle Barker
70 - Eric Nel, Dongkwan Kim (KOR), Albert Venter, Angus Ellis-Cole AMA, Mitchell Lightfoot
71 - Stephan Erasmus, Nicholaus Frade AMA, Peetie Van Der Merwe, Luke Brown, Jonathan Waschefort, Keanu Pestana AMA, Henning Du Plooy AMA, Thanda Mavundla
72 - Andrew Williamson AMA, Leon Van Der Walt AMA, Lloyd Herbst AMA, Louis Botha
73 - Luke Mayo AMA, Andrew Carlsson, Michael Pfeifer, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Richard Joubert, Michael Saunders (ENG), James Mack (ENG), Khaya Jika, Jason Rossiter, Ryan Clarke
74 - Oswin Schlenkrich AMA, Clinton Grobler, Jack Rex Duthie, Alpheus Kelapile, Leon Vorster, Maverick Faber (FRA), Allan Jirek AMA (CZE), Tristen Strydom, Hanish Nagrani (ZIM), Ruan Korb, Deon Bredenkamp, Gary Daoust (BEL), Lance Ellerbeck AMA
75 - WM Coetzee AMA, Leon Visser, Jaco Van Der Merwe AMA, Divan Marais, Jonathan George AMA, Carlo Heunis AMA, Arno Pretorius, Quintin Crause, Francois Nel AMA
76 - Hanlo Jacobs, Bradley Diggeden AMA, Matthew Spacey, Divan De Villiers, Thabiso Ngcobo, Jason Diab, Richard Spagnolo AMA, Andrew Plint AMA, Ricardo Towell, Christian Basson AMA, Xander Prinsloo AMA
77 - Keaton Slatter, Dylan Mostert, Paulo Serrao (POR), Michael Dreyer, Maritz Wessels, Adam Baker, Cody White (CAN), Tumelo Molloyi
78 - Angelo Marques AMA, Gareth Sargent AMA, Ruan Groenewald, Jancarel Rossouw AMA, Blain Sansom, Neal Woernhard (SUI), Vickus Fleischman AMA, Marnus Barnard AMA, Paul Rodrigues AMA
79 - Mike Dewsbury (ENG), Zabastian De Jager, Michael Van Rooyen, Carlo O'Reilly AMA, Albert Visser, Liam Clinton AMA, Donald Makhafola AMA, Tristan Brice AMA
80 - Ivan Mare AMA, David Rebelo, Shaun Bernstein AMA, Stephane Van Neer (COD), Christian MacGregor AMA, Elmo Barnard AMA
81 - Evance Vukeya, Liam Labuschagne AMA, Nhlalenhle Dlamini
82 - Jeandre Badenhorst
83 - Matthew Hands AMA, Christopher Constantinou AMA, Songezo Sonamzi
84 - Warric Dyers
85 - Riaan Swart AMA, Ricardo V D Westhuizen AMA
88 - Ruan Enslin AMA, Mohammed Darsot AMA, Cameron Gunning