Neil Cheetham finished with three consecutive birdies on Tuesday to top the Telkom Business PGA Championship qualifying round with a three-under-par 69, leading 15 players into the main tournament which gets underway on Thursday.
The English veteran of the Sunshine Tour held a one-stroke edge over Kenyan Stefan Engell Andersen, while locals Pieter Kruger, Ryan Thompson and Mike Maile were next-best at one-under-par 71 around the Rocklands layout at Country Club Johannesburg.
Veteran Ashley Roestoff was the unlucky player on two-over-par 74 to miss out on entry into the R3.75-million tournament which will be played over the Woodmead course as Zimbabwe’s Mickey Hough and Dale Howie, Botswana’s Stuart Smith and John Bele made it in on the same score.
Cheetham’s round started fast with a birdie on the first, another on the fifth and he topped that with an eagle on the sixth to move to four-under.
But his round became a bit topsy-turvy after that with bogeys on seven and eight, another on 12 and a double-bogey five on the 13th. He picked up just a single birdie in that run on the 10th as he reached his final three holes at level-par.
Then came the birdie-burst which took him clear.
Engell Andersen also made three consecutive birdies from the 16th to the 18th in a round which started on the 10th and included, in addition to those birdies, an eagle, three birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey.