His victory at the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open meant that Ahlers would fulfil his dream to play in ‘Africa’s Major’. It’s special for a Sunshine Tour regular to make his way through the grandstand tunnel and have Dale Hayes announce him on the first tee at Gary Player Country Club. The cheers of the crowds are powerful.
Ahlers felt the surge of adrenalin on that Thursday tee shot and went on to card 40 over the front nine, but he soon regained control of the moment. A second nine of two-under-par 34 helped him settle down and understand what it takes to compete at a $6,5-million tournament.
On Saturday he made more waves with a round of two-under-par 70 on a day when 13 of the world’s best were unable to break par.
“I’m satisfied to go around a course like this without a bogey, but it could have been something really special. Today could have been especially good, but I couldn’t make putts,” he said.
The scoreboard spread quite dramatically over the third round Danny Willett managed a seven-under-par 65 while Lee Westwood slumped to a six-over-par 78.
For Ahlers it was a vindicating experience to play his latest 18 without a dropped shot. His goal for the week was to finish below par. It will take a Sunday 68 for him to achieve that feat, but his play on Saturday will go a long way towards helping him achieve.
“It’s always nice to shoot under par. I set myself a goal to be under par for the event, so we still have a way to go. Tomorrow we need to pull a rabbit out of the hat,” he said.