Michael plays himself to Sun City

Lombard Insurance Classic tournament: Day 1Michael Scholz played Lost City Golf Course in four-under-par 68 on Tuesday and won the Sun City Challenge qualifier, securing his spot in the R700,000 tournament, which begins on Wednesday.

“A pre-qualifier is like a practice round under the gun. You’re in a pressure pot and it’s good to put yourself through that. It’s a competitive practice round, so I’m going into the week feeling good. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

On Tuesday the conditions were prime for low scoring, with dry fairways allowing for plenty of run. Scholz made the most of his chances and finished the round on four-under-par, two shots clear of his nearest rivals.

The 45-year-old works as a trick-shot specialist, putting on displays at certain events, such as the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open. During the pre-qualifier it was all business for the Johannesburger, who applied his wide range of shots to the 6713-metre course.

“I love this place and this golf course. It allows you to fiddle a bit and, being a trick-shot artist, it allows me to hit some clever shots. That worked out today, and hopefully we can keep that going for the rest of the week,” he said.

Scholz had a superb day with the flat stick on Tuesday and it helped him to keep bogeys off the card while adding birdies at the first, seventh, eighth, and 18th.

“It was great fun out there and the putter was really hot. Whenever I got into trouble I managed to come out of it. I made a fair share of putts that I would normally have been happy to two-putt, I hit the ball solid and I didn’t stray off the short stuff,” he said.

There were 40 players competing for 15 places at the pre-tournament qualifier on Tuesday and the last players made it in on one-over-par 73, completing the tournament field of 108 competitors.

“The par-fives are gettable and the greens are fantastic: they’re running very true and quick. It’s going to be a fantastic week and the guys are going to have a lot of fun,” Scholz concluded.

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