He’s out to win the tournament, and Drikus van der Walt took a giant step in that direction on Friday when he carded a seven-under-par 65 in the fourth round of the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School being played at Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs.
He moved to 11-under-par for the tournament, one off the pace set by Juan Langeveld, whose 67 at Bloemfontein saw him at 12-under. Joining Van der Walt in a share of second on 11-under was Clifford Howes.
They were three of 65 players who made the cut from 236 starters after four rounds – two on each of the courses. And, after a final round on the Bloemfontein Golf Club layout, 30 players – and those tying on the same score – will earn Sunshine Tour cards for 2014.
“My coach and I have set some goals,” said Van der Walt, “and one of those was to win this tournament. That way, I can go into the season with a bit of momentum, and perhaps get a few invitations to play in other tournaments.”
He started his round on the 10th at Bloemfontein Golf Club, and was soon into his stride with a succession of four birdies from the 13th to the 16th.
“Normally, I wouldn’t have a go at this stage of a tournament,” said Van der Walt, “but those four birdies gave me the confidence I needed.” He picked up four more on his homeward nine, stumbling with the only bogey on his card on his final hole of the day.
It’s the second time the 24-year-old from Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal has played in the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School – and it’s at the same venue as his first time, where he finished in a share of fifth.
“Funnily enough, I did well at Schoeman Park last time, and battled at Bloemfontein,” he said. “I’m certainly looking forward to the fact that the last round is at Bloemfontein.”
He will be in the company of Langeveld and Howes, so he will be closely watched by two other players who have professional experience already. “They’ll be doing their own thing, and so will I,” said Van der Walt. “It’s really a question of waiting for the opportunities to come along.”
Amongst the players further back in the field who will be waiting for their opportunities was local amateur Tertius van den Berg. He was joined in a share of fourth by Gideon Pienaar, Daniel Hammond and Adrian Ford. The next-best amateur was Bryce Bibby who carded a 70 in Bloemfontein to move to eight-under for the tournament.