Louis Calitz led the way as 10 players made their way into the Joburg Open through the pre-qualifier which finished up on Tuesday morning at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club after heavy rains disrupted play the previous day.
Calitz carded a six-under-par 65 around the West Course to share the honours with Drikus van der Walt.
They were two of eight players who won their Sunshine Tour cards in last month’s Qualifying School who made it into the €1.3-million tournament co-sanctioned by the European Tour – the others were Justin Turner, Callum Mowat, Bryce Bibby, Erik van Rooyen, Tyrone Ryan and Torben Baumann.
And of those players, three were first-timers: Turner, Mowat and Bibby played their way into their first Sunshine Tour event.
Baumann was one of the last players to make it into the field after six players had to endure a sudden-death play-off for the final three spots. The unlucky losers were Qualifying School graduates Jack Harrison of England and Haydn Porteous, and Vusi Ngubeni graduate Mpho Mafishe also missed out.
The top 10 are into the 210-man field event which is played over the West and East courses of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington from Thursday. After a round on each of them, the field is cut to the top 65 players and those tied on that score, and the final two rounds are played on the East Course.
Defending champion Richard Sterne is looking to become the first three-time winner of the event which began in 2007. He will be up against the other two-time champion, Charl Schwartzel.