Loubser overcomes 4-putt double bogey to share lead at Services

Herman Loubser four-putted the par-three sixth on Monday on his way to a five-under-par 67 opening round in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Chase to the Sunshine Tour #32 at Services Golf Club.

Despite that lapse, he ended up in a share of the lead of the 54-hole tournament with amateur Slade Pickering. They were one shot clear of Bryce Myburgh and Ryan Tipping, who, in turn, were one stroke ahead of four players on three-under in a share of fifth.

“I actually putted very well,” said Loubser, who had a birdie under his belt on the second hole before his four-putt fiasco in six. “In fact, I reckon I could have gone even lower, especially on the back nine, if a couple of putts had dropped.

After the brain-fade, he dropped another shot on the seventh. “I hit it into a fairway bunker right under the lip and I had no way out of that,” he said. “Luckily, we had about a 10-minute wait on the eighth tee, and I was able to cool down a bit and refocus.”

He refocused successfully enough to birdie eight and nine and head to the back nine at level-par.

And then he turned on the charm: Birdies on 10, 11, 15, 16 and 18 saw him home in five-under 31 and the clubhouse lead before Pickering finished up his round with a birdie on 18 to take a share of the top of the leaderboard.

“I’ve been hitting the ball well,” said Loubser, “and I think my game is starting to come together nicely.”

He’s not one to sit on a lead, so he will try to ride the momentum he created on the back nine as he goes into the second round. But players like the in-form Tipping will be waiting for another slip like he had on the sixth, so he will have to guard against that kind of slip-up happening again.

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