Birdie blitz puts Anthony into Zebula

At this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf pre-qualifier, Anthony Michael started on the 10th at Zebula Country Club and raced through the nine in 30 strokes on his way to a leading seven-under-par tally.

“I felt like I was in control of the game again. It’s always nice when you stand up and hit it where you want to. You hit your approach shots where you want and roll it on the line,” he said.

Michael already has four top-15 finishes to his name this season and was excited to be in contention at the R600,000 tournament, which starts on Wednesday.

“I never really felt out of place anywhere,” he said. “If I did hit a bad shot I wasn’t worried at all because I knew my second shot would be alright. And once I got it on (the green) the ball was rolling in. The game is getting good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I got off to a good start – six-under through the front nine, because I just gave myself good looks on every single hole. Then I slowed down on the back. I just hit the ball really well and putted nicely today, and when you have that combination everything goes.”

The 26-year-old felt confident after he finished two strokes clear of his nearest rival, and spoke about how much he enjoyed the greens. “I love them,” he said. “The quicker they are the better for me.”

Dean Burmester came back from illness with a bang and shot 67 to finish two strokes back from Michael. The 23-year-old already has two top-five finishes this year, and was keen to contest.

“I struggled with my rhythm after coming back from being a bit sick,” he said. “I was going to tournaments when I wasn’t actually ready. The game is feeling good again and today I played nicely.”

With his brother back on the bag, Burmester took control on the quick greens. Over the front stretch he carded five birdies and secured his spot in the tournament. “My brother is back from holiday, so that makes a difference. He loves quick greens like this and reads them perfectly, so that’s fantastic,” he said.

Louis Calitz, the 2011 Big Easy Tour champion, was the first to reach the clubhouse at four-under-par. He was joined by Ryan Thompson, Lean Boezaart and Johan Bekker.

“I started off nicely and only made one little bogey,” said Calitz. “I like the Origins golf events and I’m definitely looking forward to playing on such a nice course.”

Beyers Smith, Grant Veenstra and Danie van Tonder all shot three-under-par 69 to claim their place, while Divan Gerber finished a stroke back and had to win a six-man playoff for the last spot in the 72-man field.

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