With reporting from The European Tour
Sunshine Tour veterans Jean Hugo and Ulrich van den Berg have set themselves up top earn European Tour cards with just two more rounds to play in The European Tour Final Qualifying Stage at PGA Cataluyna Resort in Girona, Spain.
Hugo, a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour this year, and with 17 career titles to his credit, is in a three-way share of the lead with Englishmen Daniel Gavins and Chris Hanson at the top of the pile on 14-under-par two-thirds of the way through golf’s greatest marathon.
Three shots back, in a share of fifth, seven-time Sunshine Tour winner Van den Berg is in good shape in pursuit of one of 25 cards on offer.
Other South Africans who made the cut after four rounds are Michael Palmer in a share of 18th on seven-under, Haydn Porteous on five-under, Dean Burmester on three-under, and Darren Lloyd and Justin Walters on one-under. Danie van Tonder missed the cut.
Joint leader Hugo is one man who knows all about winning and he believes that he may reap the rewards if he treats the fabled Final Stage as just another tournament.
“I’m quite happy because I’ve played it very well so far,” said the 36-year-old from Stellenbosch, who has not yet successfully negotiated Final Stage in eight attempts. “I’m looking forward to the next two rounds.
“If you bring a bit of form in here you can do well. I’ve never really done well at Q-School, but I maybe have a different mind-set to previous years I’ve tried. I’ve been playing very well at home so that helps.
“I’ll try and build on every score day by day, you never know what the other guys are going to do. In the past I’ve tried to get out there too quickly, then you miss by a couple, then you think of the previous year’s cut and the numbers. If you just play according to the conditions you’ll be fine.
“It just fell into place today, I hit a lot of good shots and I’ve got myself in the game. If you try and win this one and then just fall short, you’re still well off with your card for next year, so that’s the aim.
“It’s a lot of pressure on everyone this week and it’s a tough course so you have to deal with it in your own way and try to get out of your own way, play the course as it is.”