Johan Etsebeth started off Sunshine Tour Qualifying School at a good pace when he shot 68 at Schoeman Park Golf Club on Tuesday.
ÂIÂm hitting it well enough to succeed this week. This event is a marathon, itÂs not a sprint, and this was a good start,Â he said.
After eight consecutive pars the 31-year-old highlighted his round with an eagle at the par-five 9th, which was the 18th hole of his round. ÂI was very patient and it eventually paid off with an eagle. I took a rescue off the tee and it left me a ¾ seven-iron into the wind. I hit it to 10 foot and then boxed the putt. It was a great way to end the day,Â said Etsebeth.
His front nine, which began at the 10th, was a far busier affair – he carded four birdies and two bogeys before turning at two-under.
The Pecanwood Golf Estate professional began his round birdie, bogey, birdie and indicated that he had not yet settled. ÂIt started off quickly for me Â I started on 10 and birdied straight away. I made a silly bogey on 11. Birdied 12 and felt like I was miss-hitting shots, but they all landed in play.Â
He made further birdies at the 15th and 17th and moved three strokes below par.
The surge was cut short by a bogey at the 18th, which is the toughest hole on the course, and Etsebeth turned at two-under.
He was unable to improve against par through eight of his back stretch and said: ÂI was hitting it solid Â I hit every green Â but I couldnÂt hole a putt.Â
The eagle on the 9th was a reward for his patience and not only led to his 68, but also set a strong pace for his tour card campaign.
ÂThis week my game is feeling better and my misses are much closer to the target. I feel ready to do well in Bloemfontein. IÂm hitting it very well.Â