Ryan triumphs at first Race to Q-School
Tyrone Ryan claimed the IGT Pro Challenge Tour’s first Race to Q-School tournament when he edged out Otto van Greunen with a birdie at the second hole of a sudden-death play-off at State Mines on Wednesday.
Van Greunen had carded the low round of the day, a six-under-par 66 to set the clubhouse target at five-under-par 211 but Ryan forced the tournament into extra time when he returned a two under 70.
Both players parred the par-four 18th, but the Bryanston golfer derailed Van Greunen’s hopes for glory when he boxed his birdie putt at the par-five 10th.
“Otto had a putt from eight feet, but the putt slipped past the edge,” explained a delighted Ryan when he received the first of 12 specifically designed trophies for this year’s Race to Q-School from IGT Tour commission, Cois du Plooy.
“I managed to box mine from about the same distance for birdie to seal the win.”
Van Greunen started the final round seven shots off the pace from KwaZulu-Natal’s Gideon Pienaar after earlier rounds of 72 and 73. He turned in one under after back-to-back birdies at the second and third and a bogey at the par-four sixth before his putter caught fire.
The 21-year-old Maccauvlei golfer reeled in five birdies at the 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th take lead.
Meanwhile Ryan, who lagged three shots behind Pienaar at the start of the day, picked up two birdies on the front nine and collected another three in succession from the 10th. However, a bogey at the double bogey at the 13th and another drop at the 17th cost him an outright win.
“I was pretty disappointed, because I felt like I threw away my chances, but I knew I had a chance in the play-off,” Ryan said. “Otto played a great final round, though, and with a score like that he will have his turn in the winner’s circle soon enough.”
Ryan turned professional in 2010 and finished his rookie season ranked 115th. He broke the 100 mark in 2012 with a 98th place ranking, but has endured a season of missed opportunities in 2013.
“I’m currently ranked 107th with earnings of R39 855 from 11 starts,” he said. “I’ve only made three cuts this season and I’m probably heading back to Qualifying School in January.
“I need to get some real consistency going before I go back to have a decent chance of competing. It is really, really tough on the Tour and you need to be shooting low scores to qualify for events and to make the cut.
“That’s why I play the IGT Tour; it keep the competitive juices flowing and the standard is high, so you really test yourself.”
The added incentive of a R100 000 sponsorship going to the leading player at the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in January is another carrot Ryan hopes to capture.
“If I had lost, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world, because my focus over the next couple of months to try to finish in the top five in every Race to Q-School event. If I can do that and earn that sponsorship, my expenses next year will be covered and that is huge pressure off. It is nice to get the Race to Q-School going like this. I’m really motivated and I am looking forward to more results like this.”
Recent Southern Cape Championship winner and the country’s No 5 ranked amateur, Callum Mowat, shot a final round 67 to tie for fifth with Andi Dill on two-under-par 214.
The second of the 12 Race to Q-School tournaments will be played at Modderfontein Golf Club from 9-11 September.
FINAL RESULT (Top 20)
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; Amateurs indicated as AMA
211 - Tyrone Ryan 72 69 70
211 - Otto van Greunen 72 73 66
213 - JC Ritchie 70 69 74, Gideon Pienaar 70 68 75
214 - Callum Mowat AMA 75 72 67, Andi Dill AMA 71 74 69
215 - Herman Minnie 72 73 70, Aubrey Barnard 73 70 72
216 - Ted Hendriks 72 70 74
217 - Shaun Smith 72 77 68, James Searson 73 76 68, Iliska Verwey 71 77 69, Lean Boezaart 74 69 74
218 - Jacques de Villiers 72 76 70, Brett Liddle 81 66 71
219 - Jaco Prinsloo 81 70 68, Deon Bredenkamp 72 73 74
220 - Leon Knoll AMA 77 72 71, Kerwin Marais 72 75 73, Danie Pretorius 77 67 76