Michael Dreyer played it cool at Observatory Golf Club on Tuesday and shot 69 for round one of Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School to join Vickesh Singh and Rocky Tlhabanyane at the top of the scoreboard.
Dreyer kicked off his campaign for one of the ten 2012 Sunshine Tour cards on offer this week, but faced stiff competition from the 109-strong field.
ÂI stayed patient and IÂve been hitting it consistently. Solid tournament experience has helped me to keep mentally strong and my game is good, so IÂm just going to plod along,Â he said.
He launched into contention with birdies at the 1st and 2nd before a bogey at the 6th hampered his drive, but he stayed patient and played out with a string of pars before turning at one-under. ÂAt the 1st I punched out from behind a tree, and was willing to accept a drop, but it stopped three feet from the hole and I made birdie. That just got things going,Â said Dreyer.
He cancelled a drop at the 12th with a birdie at the 14th, and showed some class with a pair of birdies on his final two holes to close in a share of the lead.
With no sponsor to boost him into tournaments, Vickesh Singh had to grind on and off the course just to make it to Sunshine Tour events throughout 2011.
But the 29-year-old would not be put down Â he returned to hunt one of the ten Tour cards on offer and shot 69 to join the first-round lead. ÂI only managed to make six events on the Sunshine Tour this year Â I was working hard just to make it to the events. I have been grinding away this year, working on my fitness, my chipping and my putting. Today that paid off,Â he said.
Rocky Tlhabanyane also played it quiet, which must have been the key to success on Tuesday. He carded birdies at the 1st and 7th on his front stretch, but dropped at the 3rd to turn at one-under.
He went on to birdie 14 and 18 before joining the tie for first with his three-under-par tally. ÂIÂve been working twice as hard as before, and that has made things easier for me. My swing has been much better, but I think the real trick is that my focus and my patience have rewarded me,Â he said.
Dreyer was ready for four solid rounds of golf, and sagely added: ÂYou have to keep steady until it comes your way, because itÂs a long week. You take every day as it comes, pick away at it and by the end of the week take a look at what needs to be done.Â