IGT CHALLENGE TOUR
First round 63 sets Luke Brown up for maiden win
It was touch and go towards the finish line, but Sandton amateur Luke Brown completed a wire-to-wire victory in the fourth Race to Q-School at Germiston Golf Club for his maiden win on the IGT Challenge Tour on Wednesday.
It was definitely a week to savour for the 19-year-old, who became the sixth amateur to triumph on SA’s premier golf development circuit this season.
Playing the course blind in the first round, Brown laid the groundwork for his breakthrough with the lowest round of his career – a nine-under-par 63. The Country Club Johannesburg golfer opened up a five-shot lead on the field and maintained his five-stroke advantage with a 69 in round two.
Brown was two under for the round after back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 holes when a little lapse in concentration cost him four shots in a row, but an expensive 74 nevertheless got the job done.
"It was definitely a lot more work than I bargained for, but I’m absolutely stoked with the result," said Brown after he edged out SA’s No1 ranked amateur Kyle McClatchie by one stroke on a winning total of 10-under 206.
"The first hole is a tough opening hole, but I was quite calm on the tee compared to the nerves I felt at the start of the second round. Unfortunately my tee shot caught a bad bounce in the fairway and finished behind a tree in the rough.
"After the bogey start, I made three solid pars and I birdied five to get the round back to level par. I played a solid game from there right up until the birdies at 13 and 14.
"I lost focus at 15 and three-putted the hole," said Brown. "At 16, I had 150m to the pin and I got a flyer and ended up with my ball stuck up a tree behind the green. I had to take an unplayable and walked off with another bogey.
"My tee shot went into the bunker at 17 and I didn’t hit a good trap shot.
"When I stood on the 18th tee, I knew I had two shots in hand. That calmed the nerves a bit, especially after I missed the green and I couldn’t up and down for par.
"It was a week of firsts for me. First time that I shot 63, first time that I led a tournament and the first time that I played to win It’s definitely true what they say; you have to learn how to handle the pressure in the front."