JP van der Walt became the first player in three years to shoot 66 at Bloemfontein Golf Club during Sunshine Tour Qualifying School, which earned him the clubhouse lead with a massive 12-under-par, 36-hole total.
ÂIt was solid golf out there. I got off to such a flyer, four-under after five, that it began to feel like I couldnÂt miss a putt. My iron play was superb Â my first missed green came 10 holes into the round, and that meant plenty of chances to score,Â he said.
The 265 QSchool contestants must play two rounds at Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs, after which there is a cut to the top 60 and ties, who play a final round at Schoeman Park. Van der Walt showed his class by racing around both tracks in 66 blows each, pulling two strokes clear of ScotlandÂs James Byrne.
To be in the lead is new territory for the Western Province local, who has spent the last two years grinding on the Sunshine Tour. The experience has taught him to trust his game and stay patient, but two 66s have added that special edge Â confidence.
ÂIÂve been focusing on consistency in my game, and IÂm really happy that I could post two good scores on these courses. After shooting low rounds the last two days it lets me know what I am capable of, and that gives me the confidence to stay patient and succeed,Â he said.
The 27-year-old had hoped to win QSchool at the start of the week, but since posting 12-under has started to hone in on that achievement. HeÂll need to keep his head down, because this year the field has great depth and victory will be no small task.
ÂIÂm in a really good position now. It feels like my game is there and I can give this a proper shot. I havenÂt been in the lead too much, but my plan is to stick with my routines. IÂve put a lot of effort into my game and I feel like this is the year IÂll start competing properly,Â he said.