Fensham hoping for change in fortunes at Wild Coast

Mark Fensham led nine other qualifiers into the R540,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Tuesday as he carded a level-par 70 over the 5,807-metre layout.

He shared top spot in the 36-man field with Ryan Strauss and Stuart Clark, eking out a one-stroke edge over Wallie Coetsee, Coenie Stoop, Jeff Inglis and Louis Calitz.

Bryce Easton, Lyle Rowe and Michael Scholz each signed for a two-over 72 to make the final three spots in the field for the 54-hole event which gets underway on Wednesday.

Fensham, the 27-year-old based out of Fancourt, missed out on qualifying for the first event of the series in Pretoria in May, but he got into the main draw at the second event at Arabella where he made the cut and finished in a share of 32nd – his best performance on the 2011 Sunshine Tour.

He also qualified for the third tournament of the series at Simola, but his rounds of 78 and 74 saw him miss the cut.

He has only made two other cuts on the Sunshine Tour this year – at the rain-shortened Africom Zimbabwe Open where he finished in a share of 44th, and at the MTC Namibia PGA Championship in Windhoek where he shared 57th at four-over-par for the tournament.

He will be hoping that he can make his second cut in South Africa this year after a very quiet start to his professional career on the 2010 Sunshine Tour where he finished in the money only one, at the SAA Pro-Am Invitational at Randpark last September.

He was ranked amongst the top 10 amateurs in South Africa in 2009 before he turned pro. He won the Border and Eastern Province Strokeplay Championships that year, and was runner-up in the Sanlam Cape Province Championships.

His level-par 70 in the pre-qualifier at the Wild coast will have given him heart: The wind was coming up as he completed his round on a tough course, and he will feel his score is a sign he can master conditions during the tournament.

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