Pepler 'zones in' on KitKat Cash & Carry Pro-Am co-lead

golf23 May 2024 16:05
By:Michael Vlismas
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Gerhard Pepler © Sunshine Tour

The bold and exciting approach of Gerhard Pepler and the controlled, clinical golf of Leon Vorster had the same outcome on Thursday as they both shot outstanding 65s in the first round of the KitKat Cash & Carry Pro-Am at the beautiful rural setting of the Irene Country Club to share the lead on seven-under-par.

Both golfers began their rounds on the 10th hole and Vorster made a strong birdie-birdie start.

The 27-year-old would collect further birdies on the par-four 15th and par-five 17th holes to reach the turn in a faultless four-under 32.

Pepler’s round made for vivid reading: He had birdied the 10th and then made three pars as he reached the 432m par-four 14th, which he triple-bogeyed for a seven having gone out-of-bounds off the tee.

He immediately rebounded by driving the 308m par-four 15th and sinking a 10-foot putt for eagle.

The representative of Mogol Golf Club in Lephalele (Ellisras) then sank a superb 20-foot downhill, double-breaking putt for birdie on the par-three 16th, before a tremendous drive on the par-five 17th left him with just 122m in and he hit a sand-wedge to two-and-half metres for another eagle.

A birdie at the par-four 18th meant Pepler was also out in 32.

The 24-year-old also started the front nine in rollercoaster fashion, going birdie-bogey-birdie, but he then settled down with a string of pars before finishing strong with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes.

“I must admit I was mentally tired after that stretch on the back nine,” Pepler said.

“On 14 my plan beforehand had been to hit a punchy, cut Driver but then on the tee-box I decided to take a two-iron and I hit it straight right into the cows. I just don’t like that hole, I always just see the out-of-bounds on the right and my third was almost out-of-bounds again, but it hit a tree. I then chipped out and two-putted for the seven.

“So I was angry after that and I took my two-iron again on 15, it pitched front-edge and ran to 10 feet from the hole. I said to my caddie that we can still turn level-par, but I guess I was just in the zone. After my bogey on the second – my approach was probably my worst shot of the round, on to the road and into the hazard – I was just determined not to lose any more of what I had gained on the front nine,” Pepler said.


Vorster made a grand start to his back nine by birdieing the first and second holes, and birdies on the sixth and ninth holes made up for a bogey on the par-three fourth hole.

The Parys Golf and Country Estate representative is not just using his triumph last month on the Altron Big Easy Tour as his door into the Sunshine Tour, but also carrying through the confidence he gained by winning the final of that feeder tour at nearby Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate.

Stefan Wears-Taylor was one shot off the lead after shooting a 66.

The Centurion Country Club golfer also began his round on the 10th and reached the turn in one-under, but he would tear through the front-nine in five-under 31.

Martin Rohwer also finished on the front nine, and came home in 32 to join Wears-Taylor in the tie for second on six-under-par.


65 - Leon Vorster, Gerhard Pepler

66 - Stefan Wears-Taylor, Martin Rohwer

67 - James Mack, Thanda Mavundla, Kieran Vincent, Joe Long, Stephen Ferreira

68 - Keagan Thomas, Rupert Kaminski, Danie Van Niekerk, Luke Jerling, Wynand Dingle, Jack Hawksby, Irvin Mazibuko, Keenan Davidse, Jonathan Broomhead, Kyle Barker

69 - Jacob Oakley, Ruan de Smidt, Sean Bradley, MJ Viljoen, Martin Vorster, Jean-Paul Strydom, Jason Roets, Fredrik From, JJ Senekal, Jacques Blaauw, Jaco Van Zyl, Otto Van Buynder, Stuart Krog

70 - Jacques P de Villiers, Callum Mowat, Haydn Porteous, Luke Brown, Christiaan Basson, Estiaan Conradie, Heinrich Bruiners, Nikhil Rama, Keegan Mclachlan, LB Boshoff, Hennie O'Kennedy, Hennie Otto, Ruan Korb, Gerard du Plooy

71 - Doug McGuigan, Kyle De Beer, Luca Filippi, Matthew Spacey, Allister de Kock, JC Ritchie, Thabiso Ngcobo, Pierre Pellegrin

72 - Gregory Mckay, Adam Breen, Jean Hugo, Jovan Rebula, DK Kim, Ruan Groenewald, Lyle Rowe, Michael Hollick, Daniel van Tonder, Yurav Premlall, Travis Ladner, Rourke van der Spuy

73 - Trevor Mahoney, Sentanio Minnie, Jbe Kruger, Robson Chinhoi, Dylan O'Leary, Ricky Hendler, Ethan Smith, Kayle Wykes, Samuel Simpson, Anthony Michael, Steven Le Roux, Werner Deyzel, Conner Mackenzie, Jake Redman, Rhys West, Neil Schietekat, Malcolm Mitchell, Christian Kriek, Madalitso Muthiya, CJ du Plessis

74 - Jacquin Hess, Jastice Mashego, Jabulane Mabilane, Toto Thimba Jnr, Teboho Sefatsa, Hayden Griffiths, Dayne Moore, Makhetha Mazibuko, Jared Harvey, Andre De Decker, Herman Loubser

75 - Tristin Galant, Nick Cunningham, Quintin Wilsnach, Combrinck Smit, Sipho Bujela

76 - Merrick Bremner, Keelan van Wyk, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Dylan Mostert, Thabang Simon

77 - Stals Swart, Austin Bautista, Christiaan Burke, Mike Maile

78 - James Kamte

79 - Ruan Conradie, Umar Davids

80 - Tumelo Molloyi, Slenda Sithebe, Franklin Manchest

82 - Jordan Duminy

83 - CJ Levey

85 - Lyle Pedro