On Tuesday Jared Harvey shot 67 and won his third consecutive pre-qualifier to earn a place at the Nelson Mandela Championship, but his joy stemmed from a personal connection to the host course, Mount Edgecombe Country Club.
“My dad was the professional here in the 1990’s and he’s currently the coach at the range. Mount Edgecombe holds a lot for me and I won the South African Amateur here in 2011. It would mean the most to me if I play well here and if I had to choose a place, I’d like it to be this one,” he said.
A field of 82 players headed to Selbourne Park Golf Club vying for one of the 10 final spots at the €1-million Nelson Mandela Championship. Harvey made his way through the front nine in four-under and claimed the early lead, after which he looked to consolidate with a solid back nine.
“It was a tale of two nines, but that was how I expected it to play. I just tried to hang in there, because I knew that four-under on the front nine should see me through, and it did,” he said.
The 25-year-old’s first professional event at his home course will be special. He’s expecting the local support to boost his confidence from the moment he tees up on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be nice to have a bit of family, a bit of friends. Hopefully I can play half decently and put on a good performance for those guys. I’ve been on good runs here in the past, but to do it this week in a tournament scenario would be nice,” he said.
With his father, George, to mentor him through the highs and lows of golf, Harvey has grown into one of the most promising youngsters on tour. His place at the Nelson Mandela Championship this week is well earned, but not unexpected.
“It’s more about the off the course things that my father can bring. He’s played on the tour and been through it, so whatever I do on the course he can relate to. In my opinion he’s one of the best coaches in the world and hopefully I can play well this week with him outside the ropes,” he said.
Graham van der Merwe and Le Roux Ferreira equalled Harvey’s leading total of five-under-par and snatched up two of the remaining spots on offer.
One shot back on four-under-par were Drikus Bruyns and Riekus Nortje, while 10 further players entered a playoff for five spots after finishing on three-under-par.
Anthony Michael, Johan Dubuisson, Ryan Tipping, Clifford Howes and Daniel Greene emerged triumphant and those five players will complete the 156-man field competing at Mount Edgecombe from Wednesday.