Five months ago, big-hitting Louis Albertse fired a career low loop to sweep into the lead at the Els Club Copperleaf in the penultimate event in the Race to Q-School Series. He won the event and less than a month later, graduated to the Sunshine Tour with a third place finish at Q-School.
On Tuesday, the Dundee golfer showed his affinity for the Els course again when he lined up a second IGT Challenge Tour victory with a second successive four-under 68.
Albertse leads by one stroke on eight under from overnight leader Estiaan Conradie and Benjamin Follett-Smith. Conradie carded 70 and the Zimbabwean’s five-under 67 earned him joint low round honours with Jaco Prinsloo and rookie Ruhan van Dijk.
Sunshine Tour winner Wynand Dingle stayed in the mix with a 71 and lurks four back on 140.
Albertse overcame a bogey start at 10 with a trio of birdies to turn two under. He negated two further drops with four gains on his back nine.
“I was a little annoyed to start with a bogey, but I brought it back with the birdie at 11,” said the 21-year-old HPC Tuks Golf Academy player.
“I birdied 15 and 16, but I nearly messed up at the par five. I hit driver down the middle, but I hit a poor hybrid for my second and finished in the bunker. I had a 60-metre shot, but just got it out. But I chipped in for the birdie, which was a nice relief.
“The 16th is a drivable par four; I drove it front edge and made up-and-down for birdie and I kept the round going nicely around the turn with four straight pars. I had three putt bogeys at three and seven, but I made some birdies in between to stay in the red.”
Albertse birdied both par fives – five and eight – and the last two holes for a loop of 34.
“That’s nowhere near the 27 I shot in February, but I’ll take it,” he said. “I was happy to finish on a high note with two good birdies after the two three-putt bogeys.
“At the eighth, I made a good up-and-down from next to the green. I had 100 metres into nine from the middle of the fairway and I hit it to 15 foot and rolled in the putt. I’ve had two solid rounds with a few unnecessary mistakes, but I’ve put myself in the running.”
Albertse, who graduated the country’s premier golf development circuit in March, said he is enjoying competing at the next level on the Sunshine Tour.
“Golf is still golf, but the margin for error is smaller,” said Albertse, who has enjoyed two pay-days in his six starts this season. “If you don’t have a good day on the course, you see it on the leaderboard. You need good shots, but your average shots also need to be better. It’s going well for me. I hit a bit of a slump after the Mopani Open in Zambia, but my game is on an upwards trajectory again.
“I’m looking forward to restarting the season after the break. I’m enjoying it a lot and I feel like I belong on the Sunshine Tour. I’ve been working on some things with the coaches at Tuks HPC Golf Academy during the break and it’s great to be able to come out here and compete on the IGT Challenge Tour to put it all into practice.”
SECOND ROUND SCORES:
136 - Louis Albertse 68 68
137 - Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM) 70 67, Estiaan Conradie 67 70
140 - Wynand Dingle 69 71
141 - CJ Levey 72 69, Toto Thimba Jnr 73 68, Otto van Buynder AMA 72 69
142 - Allister de Kock 70 72, Thriston Lawrence 74 68, Breyten Meyer 70 72, Jaco Prinsloo 75 67, Merrick Bremner 74 68
143 - Dean Martin AMA 69 74, Sipho Bujela 72 71, Slade Pickering AMA 70 73, Jason Diab 74 69, Luke Brown 71 72, Duane Keun 73 70, Thabang Simon 73 70, Marco de Beer 75 68, Stefan Wears-Taylor 72 71
144 - Heinrich Bruiners 72 72, Ruan Conradie 74 70, Jaco van der Merwe AMA 70 74, Ruhan van Dijk 77 67, Jonathan Waschefort 73 71, Derick Petersen 73 71
145 - Tyran Van Lieshout 74 71, Adam Breen AMA 72 73
146 - Keaton Slatter 72 74, Keegan Mclachlan AMA 77 69, Michiel Bothma 72 74, Makhetha Mazibuko 72 74
147 - Christiaan Pretorius 73 74, Caylum Boon AMA 77 70, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 77 70, Neville Mitchell AMA 74 73, Conway Kunneke 76 71, Irvin Mazibuko 77 70
148 - Romano Saincic 74 74, Altaaf Bux 73 75
149 - Henning du Plooy AMA 74 75, Michael Pfeifer 81 68, Phumlani Maluka 75 74, NJ Arnoldi 75 74, Angus Ellis-Cole AMA 75 74, Duan Nagel AMA 75 74
150 - Alexander van Wyk AMA 75 75, Aidan Boon AMA 75 75, Franklin Manchest 78 72, Matthew Hands AMA 71 79, Andrew Plint AMA 76 74, Stephan Erasmus 76 74, Steven le Roux AMA 72 78