Justin Turner (@justinturner120) has spent most of his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour battling his way through pre-qualifiers, but his perseverance was rewarded as he marched to a four-under-par 68 on Wednesday to move into contention in the Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung tournament at Vaal de Grace Golf Estate.
That he did it on the 6,711-metre Nick Price layout where he first tried to earn his professional status back in 2010 made it all the sweeter – as did the fact that it is only the third cut he has made on the Sunshine Tour this year.
“It’s a rite of passage for rookies,” said Turner of the rigmarole of having to pre-qualify for so many events. “It’s not easy, and it wasn’t easy here, when 69 was the last score in.” He shot a 67 to make it into the main draw.
He started his second round off badly, with bogeys on the 13th and 14th after he began his round on the 10th, but he got things back on track to reach the turn in one-over. “I made a great putt on 15 and another one on 16, both of which were for part, and then I made birdie on 17,” he said.
And then came his birdie blitz. “I just kind of got it going on the back nine,” he said. “I was putting really well. I’ve been rolling it really nicely since the practice round, and I’m seeing the lines pretty nicely.”
As his round unfolded, he started thinking of what it could be, and he had a knee-trembler of a six-footer for par on 18 as his approach putt rolled by. “I misread it a little. It broke a little more than I thought it would,” he said.
He also got a little lucky on the eighth – his 17th. “My lie in the rough there was horrendous,” he said. “It was sitting a foot-and-a-half off the ground in a bush. I just got a seven-iron onto it and got it onto the front edge. I hit a really good lag putt there.”
He doesn’t plan to change anything going into the final round. “I’m looking forward to it a lot,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and just try and do what I did the last two days and try and make no mistakes.”