9th March 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Hallelujah putt secures final stage spot for Pretorius
Arno Pretorius was the first to secure his spot in the final stage of qualifying school which will be held at Randpark Golf Club in two weeks’ time following his four-stroke victory in the first stage held at Killarney Country Club.
He went into Friday’s final round trailing Sweden’s Philip Eriksson by three shots after shooting a two-under-par 68 round. However, on Friday, Pretorius showed his class as he made only one bogey to race to a three-under-par 67 final round to total six-under for the week.
“I started off alright,” said Pretorius, “made a par, my ball was plugged on the first, it’s not really the way you want to start a round. I made a good up-and-down there, made birdie on the second hole, stayed there and birdied the par-five as you should here. But on the last I made one of the hallelujah putts from the good read from my caddie.”
His only bogey followed the birdie he made on the par-five fifth hole and from there he made eight straight pars from the seventh through to the 14th. The 15th and the last would be the only other holes where Pretorius made birdies. “The course was a bit easy today with no rains,” he admitted, “just a couple of tucked flags, but the course was well-set up.”
Lurking behind him on the leaderboard was Eriksson whose four-over-par final round was more than enough to earn him second spot while first-round leader, Steven Lecuyer of Canada and John McClean shared the third spot. Lecuyer shot a 69 while McClean carded a three-under-par final round.
Over at State Mines Country Club the scoring was a little better, evidenced by the finishing totals. England’s Ben Robinson started like a house on fire as he made back-to-back birdies in the opening holes of the final round. Those gains were cancelled out prematurely as he dropped shots on the third and the ninth holes.
After the turn, Robinson made an eagle and a birdie and took a par on 12 before dropping his third shot of the day on the par-three 13th. One par later, he made another birdie and again after making two consecutive pars on the 16th and 17th holes, Robinson made a bogey on the last. Despite an indifferent round, however, Robinson was still happy to sign for a 70 and finish two shots clear at the top.
“I played well today, again,” he said after his round, “got off to a good start, made birdie-birdie. But things started getting a little shaky a bit in the middle. Hit a good shot into 10, eagle there and then I was just cruising along from there.”
He said despite being inactive in terms of competitive golf for a while, he used his time out working hard on his game this week’s showing was the result of such hard work. Now, guaranteed a start in the final stage in two weeks, Robinson can’t wait to get going at Randpark Golf Club.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said, “I have never played there but I heard it was a magnificent track so I am looking forward to that.”
The top 20 and ties from each of the courses have now qualified for the final stage of qualifying school to be held at Randpark Golf Club in two weeks’ time.
Killarney Country Club Qualified: Arno Pretorius, Philip Eriksson, Steven Lecuyer, John McClean, Paul Boshoff
Matthew Rushton, Eric Nel, Jade Buitendag, Andrew Morris, Michael Schutz, Marco de Beer, Hayden Griffiths, Tomasz Anderson, Jason Rossiter, Juran Dreyer, Dylan Mostert, Rick Palonis, Carlo Heunis, Keagan Thomas, Gideon van der Vyver, Keaton Slatter, Albert Venter
State Mines Qualified: Ben Robinson, David Mofokeng, Ruhan van Dijk, CJ Levey, PJ van der Merwe, Wayne Stroebel, Richard Joubert, Luke Trocado, Seb Crookall-Nixon, Jimmy Mullen, Clinton Grobler, Michael-James Steyn, Allister de Kock, Jen Hillermann, Marthin Scheepers, Jason Roets, Christian Larsson, Basil Wright, Andrew Burmester, Erhard Lambrechts, Iron-Byron Sampson