For most it can be extremely tough, trying to pre-qualify for tournaments and, even if successful, trying not to miss the cut.
Dwayne Basson (photo: Ernest Blignault) from the Western Cape belongs to the larger group. And he’s got to do it all over again for this week’s Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
In his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour in 2015, the 23-year-old Kuils River player only made two cuts the whole year and those come on the second tier Big Easy Tour. Missed cuts means another week of no pay, in spite of having to fork out for travel, accommodation and caddie expenses.
However, thanks to a sparkling 67 in the final round of the Sunshine Tour’s development initiative – the Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School – in December, he did well to finish second on 280 and that was enough to earn him category membership of the 2016 Tour.
To save on air fares, Basson and his father Johnny drove up from Cape Town to Johannesburg for the pre-qualifier for the BMW South African Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.
With his dad on the bag – again to save money – he shot a tidy two-under-par 70 in the Irene Country Club Qualifier, where there were only four spots were on offer.
Although Basson didn’t crack the top four, he did earn a place in the world class field at Glendower Golf Club as one of the highest placed previously disadvantaged players in the three pre-qualifiers.
That in itself was a thrill for Basson, but things got a whole lot better when he then shot 75-70 to make the cut.
“It felt so good making it into the weekend in our national open alongside some world-class players,” said Dwayne, who will on Tuesday try and qualify for this week’s Joburg Open.
“I didn’t even want to come up to Joburg in the first place, because it was going to cost a lot of money but my dad persuaded me to give it a go. He offered to drive up and caddie for me to save on expenses. To make the cut and make some money (R36,000), even though I didn’t play too well over the last two rounds, is really special.
“I love this game and I’m determined to make a success out of it.”
Basson’s father works in administration at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is also a pastor of a church. He is very supportive of his son.
“Dwayne has always been addicted to sport,” Johnny Basson says. “As a three-year-old in 1995 he already knew the names of the players in the Rugby World Cup. He played all the sports and was especially good at hockey, playing for the Western Province Under-16 team that won the IPT.
“And now that he’s switched to golf, I believe he has the potential to go places in the game.”
Dwayne’s response? “My dad’s been great, but now it’s all up to me to make a success out of golf and to advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. I made the most of the chance to play in the SA Open and I’m relishing the challenges that lie ahead this season.”