Doug McGuigan did his best to keep the leaders of the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open within sight on Saturday while keeping another eye firmly on the European Tour’s Final Stage Qualifying School later in the month.
The 43-year-old Sunshine Tour veteran carded a three-under-par 69 in the third round of the Cape Town tournament on a breezy daw during which leader Tjaart van der Walt had a dream round with eight birdies on his way to a scorching 65.
“The only way we can catch him is if he trips,” said McGuigan, who made an eagle-three on the 485-metre par-five 16th to make sure he was at least within seven strokes of Van der Walt.
“I’ve made an eagle every day so far,” he said. “The one on 16 came after I hit a nice three-wood off the tee which went about 260 or 270 – that was a surprise because I didn’t know I could hit it that long – and then I hit my old rescue I’ve had in the bag for 12 years to about three feet.”
And while he will not believe he has no chance at all this weekend, McGuigan is taking the long view on his game. “I haven’t been playing as well as I wanted to,” he said. “It hasn’t been a good year for me so far, but this week has given me some confidence ahead of going overseas next week to try and qualify for Europe.”
McGuigan made it into the six-round marathon that is the European Tour’s Final Qualifying Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain by virtue of his 12th-place finish on last year’s Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, and will have to grind his way through that test inside the top 30 from November 10-15 to gain his card.
And a good final round in Cape Town will help him get ready.