Alan plays his way into Africa Open

Alan Mclean finished one event shy of 2012 Sunshine Tour exemption, but he would not be left out of the Africa Open and was one of ten players to pre-qualify at East London Golf Club on Tuesday.

The Scotsman earned his spot with a solid 72, closing three strokes shy of Paul Bradshaw, who shot 69 and led the round ahead of the €1-million tournament starting Thursday.

Last year Mclean earned R130,373 over the five tournaments he played on the Sunshine Tour calendar. The prizemoney would have earned him 66th spot on the order of Merit and a subsequent exemption for 2012, but he failed to play the necessary minimum of six events and was forced to pre-qualify for the season-opening Africa Open.

During the round Mclean was quick out the gate and made birdies at the 1st and 3rd before turning at two-under.

A double-drop at the 10th would mark the start of a back nine made tough by windy conditions, but the Scotsman kept steady and made birdie at the 12th. A final drop at the 14th was the last blip on Mclean’s radar and he closed in 72 strokes.

Paul Bradshaw would not have believed he would shoot 69 after carding a drop at the 1st, but he stayed relaxed over the 6315-metre course and went on to birdie the 5th, 6th and 9th to turn at two-under.

Composure was key and Bradshaw stayed patient before making his first birdie of the back stretch, which came on the 14th. “The back nine was made difficult by the wind, but I was feeling good and took on the course – that paid off for me,” he said.

He bogeyed the 17th, but brought it back with a birdie at the 18th and closed the day one stroke clear of Graham van der Merwe and Danie van Tonder.

Also earning pre-qualifying spots were Michael du Toit, JJ Senekal, Thomas Lovett, Andrew Georgiou, Greg Petzer and Robert Wiederkehr.

After being forced to play his way into the start of the 2012 season, Mclean will be hungry to start both the Sunshine and European Tours with a bang.

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