Breezy conditions made for difficult second round scoring at The Els Club Copperleaf on Tuesday, but Pretoria rookie Estiaan Conradie defied the odds to open up a two shot lead in the first Race to Q-School.

The Wingate Park golfer fired a flawless six under-par 66 to line up a fifth visit to the winner’s circle on the IGT Challenge Tour.

He was not alone in struggling in the wind – only 10 other players managed to break par – but he knows he is in a strong position heading into the last day. “It was a lot tougher getting to 10 under than the scored showed,” Conradie said.

“It was difficult today. Making par is good on days like this. It was a two to three club wind and that makes a big difference on this course. You’re hitting uphill and downhill on uneven lies, and this wind is so much more difficult to get near the pin.

“The putter definitely saved me. I made three great putts to save par and all five my birdie putts were inside 15 feet. I was just disappointed to not birdie all the par fives. But I’m leading and that’s better than being behind.”

The 19-year-old Wanna Be A Champion Academy player made his debut on the Big Easy Tour last week and said the gained a lot from the experience.

“Competing on the IGT Challenge Tour for the last 18 months prepared me really well for the Kings Cup,” said Conradie.

“I felt very comfortable being among some seasoned pros. I did expect to do better than a tie for 33rd but I had to scramble to last all three rounds. I struggled to come to grips with the greens at Royal Swazi and it was the first time in a long while that the short stick let me down. It was a really great experience and I am grateful I got the chance to test myself.”

Conradie believes he’ll have a fight on his hands to land his second pro title on Wednesday.

“Roberto Lupini is hot on my heels at 10 under,” he said. “He has won twice this season and also shot 66 today.

“My brother Ruan birdied three of the last four holes for a 68, so he is just three shots back now and tied for third with Pieter (Moolman). There are a few other guys that could also go low in the top 10, like Matt Bright and Jade Buitendag and you can’t discount Maritz (Wessels). He shot 73 today, but this is his home course, so he could turn it up in the final round.”

“The way I try to see it, whether I’m leading or not, it’s all about when the last putt drops. It really doesn’t matters now; it’s all about tomorrow.”

SECOND-ROUND SCORES

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:

134 - Estiaan Conradie 68 66

136 - Roberto Lupini 70 66

137 - Pieter Moolman 67 70, Ruan Conradie 69 68

139 - Matt Bright 71 68

141 - Maritz Wessels 68 73, Jade Buitendag 69 72, Marthin Scheepers 69 72

143 - Paul Boshoff 71 72, Joubert van Eeden 74 69, Hayden Griffiths AMA 71 72, Leon Visser AMA 72 71, Jay Dean Fourie 71 72, Tertius van den Berg 71 72, Juran Dreyer AMA 70 73

144 - Juan Langeveld 73 71, Zabastian de Jager 72 72, Quintin Crause 70 74, Ruan Korb 69 75, Armand van Dyk AMA 72 72

145 - Michael Steyn 75 70

146 - Conway Kunneke 73 73, Thabi Ngcobo 70 76, Albert Visser 74 72, Ruan Groenewald AMA 74 72

147 - Jabulane Mabilane 71 76, Otto van Buynder AMA 75 72

148 - Jan-Louis Nel AMA 72 76, Clinton Grobler 77 71, Albert Venter 74 74, Mpho Mafishe 77 71, Christian Basson AMA 72 76, Phillip Kruse AMA 73 75

149 - Liam Clinton AMA 77 72, Duan Nagel AMA 71 78

150 - Bryce Myburgh 75 75, Ryan Wingrove AMA 78 72, Richard Joubert AMA 77 73, Adam Botha AMA 77 73, Deon Bredenkamp 73 77, Jancarel Rossouw AMA 75 75

151 - Ruhan van Dijk AMA 74 77, Mae Cornforth 77 74, Gareth Anderson AMA 77 74

152 - Justin Turner 77 75, Francois van Rensburg AMA 75 77, Theunis Bezuidenhout AMA 72 80, Marcus Smal AMA 77 75

153 - Jack Duthie 80 73, Terence Mogapi 79 74

154 - Jason Ackerman AMA 80 74, Christopher de Beer AMA 78 76

155 - Shaun van Tonder 77 78, Zillan du Pisani AMA 78 77, Andrew Plint AMA 80 75

MISSED THE CUT:-

156 - Matthew Hands AMA 80 76, Divan de Villiers AMA 77 79, Ruben Labuschagne 79 77

157 - Sean Coomer AMA 79 78, Matthew Rossouw AMA 82 75, Eric Park (KOR) 79 78, Luke Kelly 80 77

158 - Marc de Jager AMA (ENG) 80 78, Valentin Graus (NLD) 81 77, Dino di Carlo AMA 76 82

159 - Adrian Brabson AMA 81 78, Songezo Sonamzi 78 81

161 - Werner Lourens 83 78, Gary Jutzen AMA 81 80, Malachi Schulz AMA 86 75

162 - Marais Visagie 85 77, Paulo Serrao AMA (POR) 82 80

163 - Tiaan Greyvenstein AMA (AUS) 83 80

164 - Christiaan Pretorius 79 85

167 - Thabang Tlou 83 84, Dylan van Heerden AMA 83 84

168 - Tristan Webel AMA 82 86