James leads Scottish charge in Bloem

With 42 foreigners, whose nationalities range from Serbian to Scottish, this year’s Sunshine Tour Qualifying School is the most diverse it’s ever been. Scotland’s James Byrne continued to fly his flag high on Friday as he moved into an early share of fourth on 10-under-par.

“It’s my first time to South Africa. It’s a little different, but I am used to the firm fairways and the style is reasonably similar to Links golf. I had heard a lot of great things about the tour, but last year I played on the Asian Tour, so I wasn’t able to try it. This year I planned early to come over, and hopefully I’ll be playing here this year,” he said.

The 24-year-old blazed into second place at the 36-hole mark after backing up an opening 68 with a second-round 66. QSchool is a marathon, however, and rounds of 73 and 71 meant that Byrne would reach the 72-hole mark in a share of fourth at 10-under.

“It was a nice bonus to get off to a good start the first two days and get well under par quite early and I’m a bit disappointed that I haven’t been able to build on that and still be challenging for the lead,” he said.

Entrants must play two rounds at both Schoeman Park and Bloemfontein Golf Clubs, after which there is a cut to the top 60 and ties, who then play a final round at Schoeman Park. The top 30 and ties at the end of the 90 holes receive 2013 Sunshine Tour cards.

While the cut loomed for most players, Byrne was focusing on finishing as well as possible in order to secure a good position in the Sunshine Tour rankings.

“The better you do, the better category you have and the more events you might be able to play. The goal is always to win, and I was in a good position over the first two rounds, so I’m a little disappointed to not be there now. One of the perks of this tour is the co-sanctioned events, but I need to focus on tomorrow and lock that card up first,” he said.

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