Electric opener to qualifying school

Lightning delayed play, but the real sparks at Sunshine Tour Qualifying School were seen at Schoeman Park and Bloemfontein Golf Clubs when 252 hopefuls began their 90-hole fight for the 30 Tour cards on offer.

Patience proved valuable for Drikus van der Walt at Schoeman Park, while Wesley Worster was rewarded for aggression at Bloemfontein, and by the close of Tuesday the pair shared the lead at five-under-par.

Van der Walt started on the 10th and immediately made birdie, but stayed safe and carded pars through the next eight holes to turn at one-under.

The front nine looked to remain a peaceful affair until he struck with birdies at the 1st and 5th.

He stormed through the par-five ninth in just three blows to close the round with an eagle and sign for 67. “That was a great finish, but it’s 90 holes of golf – you can’t look forward or back – you just have to stay in the moment,” he said.

Despite sharing the lead and also starting off the 10th, Wesley Worster had a very different story to tell. To start with, he played at Bloemfontein Golf Club and his first deviation from par was with a bogey at the 12th.

He recovered and made birdies at the 15th and 17th to turn at one-under.

He thundered through the back nine and an eagle at the 5th would be the cherry on top of birdies at the 1st, 3rd and 6th as he roared to six-under.

A bogey on his final hole would set him back from sole possession of first and he closed at five-under, sharing a one-stroke lead ahead of the second round. “I’m just going to stick to my gameplan and not worry about the scoreboard. You just take every shot one at a time,” he said.

One stroke back were Johan Etsebeth and amateur Joubert Liebenberg. They closed the day at four-under and shared second, which was a solid start to their challenge for Tour cards. “I’m hitting it well enough to succeed this week. This event is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and this was a good start,” said Etsebeth.

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