O’Riley’s 7-under takes share of Modderfontein lead

Nov 2, 2021 | Featured

Dean O’Riley carded a seven-under-par 65 on Tuesday to grab a share of the first-round lead in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #18 at Modderfontein Golf Club.

O’Riley, the leading amateur in the 2010 South African Open Championship and winner of the Freddie Tait Cup, had a bogey-free start to the 54-hole tournament and he shared the summit of the leaderboard with Gregory Mackay, who had an eagle, six birdies and a bogey in his 65. The leading pair were two strokes clear of Ryan van Velzen, with Leon Vorster, Erhard Lambrechts and Gerhard Pepler in a share of fourth on four-under-par.

O’Riley, who beat Dylan Frittelli to the Freddie Tait Cup in 2010 at Durban Country Club, had four birdies on the opening nine, and then picked up three more on 109, 13 and 16 on his way home.

At 79th on the Road to the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, and with the three-tournament play-off starting next week already, O’Riley is launching something of a ‘hail Mary’ attempt to regain some sort of playing status on the Sunshine Tour which he enjoyed after he turned professional. He had three top-10s in 2011, but never managed to fulfil the potential he showed in beating Frittelli.

A victory this week would rekindle the flame and get him into a position to possible climb into the top six on the Road to the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. That would get him status on the Sunshine Tour again.

But he has plenty of ground to make up, and with Van Velzen – who is second on the Order of Merit – just two strokes back, and the likes of Lambrechts, Kyle McClatchie and Ian Snyman who are all already inside the top six, hot on his heels, he has his work cut out for him.

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