Ali returns to the Sunshine Tour after Vusi victory

Taipei-born Ali Tsai secured his third season on the Sunshine Tour after winning the 2011 Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School held at Observatory Golf Club.

Tsai fired rounds of 70, 72, 76, and 71 on the 6,428-metre par-72 layout to finish on one-over-par for the tournament and after tying with Wandile Gininda, eventually took first prize after a final round count-out.

Amateur Vickesh Singh (+2), and 2010 Sunshine Tour players Cameron Esau (+4) and Derick Petersen also secured their 2011 playing rights on the main tour with Petersen also claiming his spot after a count-out on six-over par.

The next 25 players on the final leaderboard secured their playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour’s new mini tour, the details of which are in the process of being finalised.

But for Tsai, now a South African citizen, it was a bittersweet success after first joining the Sunshine Tour in 2007, losing his card that year, playing once again last year without success, and now earning the chance to play on both the main tour and the new mini tour in 2011.

“I am really happy,” he said. “But hopefully this year I can perform better than last year and retain my card for 2012.”

Tsai’s brother Albert was one of the 25 to gain entry to the mini tour and will look to follow in his brother’s footsteps onto the main tour in years to come.

Tsai, Gininda, Singh, Esau, and Petersen will now get their first opportunity to play in 2011 professionally at next week’s Zimbabwe Open pre-qualifier. For Singh it will be his first attempt at professional golf with many more events to come throughout the season.

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