O’Leary leads as Hendler and Co pile on pressure in Irene

golf11 April 2024 14:53
By:Matthews Mfubu
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Dylan O'Leary © Altron Big Easy Tour

Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club’s Dylan O’Leary will take a slim lead into the final round of the Altron Big Easy Tour Play-Off on Friday, thanks to his second round of 68 which took his tournament total to nine-under par and a stroke clear of Ricky Hendler at Irene Country Club.

O’Leary was two shots off the pace set by Paul Boshoff after the opening round of this 54-hole event which is the second-last tournament of the current season.

He shot 67 on day one and backed it up with a 68 on Thursday to take him to the summit of the leaderboard ahead of the final round.

“Today, I did the same things that I did yesterday,” said O’Leary, reflecting on his round.

“But, I got off to a bit of a rocky start, and I know my psychologist will kill me but, my warm-up wasn’t great. But, I knew I could get it around and the putts fell in on the back nine. I had a really good back nine. I stayed in it.

“Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. Thoughts are going to wander; thoughts are going to come in tomorrow about winning or not winning, you know. But I must refocus myself on every shot and do the best that I can. The guys will come firing but they’re also in the same position that I am in. We will all go out there and whoever can hold it together the best, is probably going to take it.”


Leading the chase will be Dainfern Golf Estate’s Hendler whose brilliant back nine in the second round helped him five-under-par 67, and catapult him to second on the leaderboard.

The left-hander was six-under-par 30 and bogey-free on that stretch.

“The front nine here is a bit tricky for me,” Hendler noted. “I think maybe it’s the shape I hit it as a left-handed golfer; I don’t know. And today the putts just didn’t drop. But, on the back nine, I made like two 10-footers in a row. My caddie was encouraging me a lot and we started to feel good about ourselves and said if we can shoot seven-under on the back nine, we can get into contention. We missed that target by one, but I’m still happy about how I played.

“I have been working very hard and I retained my Sunshine Tour card last week and that was awesome. So, I just came here this week to try and win and get some confidence back. But I am here to try to win this week and next week too, and get some confidence back because I know what I am capable of. So, I’m definitely going to come to play for a win tomorrow.”


Parys Golf and Country Estate’s Leon Vorster produced a scintillating 66 – the lowest round of the day – to get to seven under par and two off the pace.

“I putted well today,” said Vorster, “even though I feel like I left a few out there. I hope tomorrow they will come. The greens are really nice here, so I hope I can putt as well as I did today. I don’t like to dream ahead but a win for any of us here will mean a lot to that player. I’m lying 11th on the Order of Merit (top 12 earn Sunshine Tour cards for next season) and a good finish here and next week will help a lot. So, all of us here have different reasons to play well this week and at Blue Valley.”

Xander Basson, Christopher Long and overnight leader Boshoff share the fourth spot on the leaderboard on six-under for the tournament.

Only the top 50 players on the Altron Big Easy Tour Order of Merit are eligible for the Play-Off tournament which precedes the Final event of the season.


135 - Dylan O'Leary 67 68

136 - Ricky Hendler 69 67

137 - Leon Vorster 71 66

138 - Xander Basson 70 68, Christopher Long 69 69, Paul Boshoff 65 73

139 - Samuel Simpson 70 69, Vaughn van Deventer 69 70, Andrew McLardy 69 70, Franklin Manchest 68 71, Jordan Duminy 68 71

140 - Dayne Moore 71 69, Werner Deyzel 70 70

141 - Andre De Decker 73 68, Conner Mackenzie 72 69, Ruan Groenewald 71 70, Andrew Williamson 71 70, Ruan de Smidt 71 70, Allister de Kock 69 72

142 - Travis Ladner 74 68

143 - Therion Nel 72 71, Pierre Pellegrin 71 72, Warwick Purchase 70 73, Stals Swart 75 68

144 - Sentanio Minnie 72 72, Keegan Mclachlan 73 71, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 71 73, LB Boshoff 74 70, Jason Roets 74 70, Philip Geerts 75 69

Missed the cut:

145 - Christian Kriek 72 73, Slade Pickering 72 73, Makhetha Mazibuko 73 72, Reece Mc Kain 74 71, Leon Visser 74 71, Marthin Scheepers 74 71, Wade Jacobs 71 74, Francois Van der Walt 74 71, Rigardt Albertse 74 71

146 - Matthew Rushton 72 74, Nicholaus Frade 75 71

147 - Gerard du Plooy 74 73, Toto Thimba Jnr 75 72, James Pennington 76 71, Andre Van Dyk 76 71

148 - Harry Konig 74 74, Coert Groenewald 76 72

152 - Henning du Plooy 73 79

155 - Johan Theron 73 82

160 - Thabiso Ngcobo 81 79