Moolman rises to SA Open occasion

Pieter Moolman soared into the South African Open Championship with a superb 65 during qualifying at Irene Country Club on Tuesday, where he made three birdies and an eagle over his final six holes.


“I played really well today. Everything came together, especially over the closing holes, and I’m really looking forward to competing this week,” he said.


The Benoni local lives 15 minutes’ drive from Glendower Golf Club, which hosts the 103rd instalment of the SA Open, but on Tuesday he took on Irene Golf Club for the pre-qualifier. A massive 580 entries were taken for the world’s second-oldest national open, and that meant the pre-qualifying rounds were held at three different courses – Irene, Kempton Park, and Wingate.


Moolman raced through his final holes at Irene on Tuesday, where he converted good ball striking and reliable putting into a seven-under-par round. The highlight of his day came at the par-five 17th, where he took driver to the right side of the fairway, played in from 180 metres out and hit it to 12 feet before boxing the putt for eagle.


“I successfully qualified last year as well, but my golf this season has been much better. I’ve had a consistent season and I’m looking to the SA Open for a chance to move on the Order of Merit,” he said.


Every golfer dreams of competing in their national open and the 22-year-old will have that chance come Thursday at Glendower.


“I see these tournaments – the SA Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship – like the Sunshine Tour’s majors. This week will be a great opportunity to play against European Tour players, to compete on the big stage and it’s a course I know, so I’m really excited about having this chance,” he said.


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