Otto fires 68 despite feeling nervous

15_QS_VanGreunenO_rd1NEWHe’s been to the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School twice before, and Otto van Greunen still got nervous teeing off for the third time on Tuesday.

He put the nerves behind him to card an opening four-under-par 68 at Bloemfontein Golf Club in the opening round of this year’s tournament being played there and at the adjacent Schoeman Park Golf Club.

“Mentally, Qualifying School is the toughest thing ever,” he said. “It doesn’t get any easier, because it means a lot. You want it so badly. I started playing when I was 12… that was 10 years ago. This is something I’ve worked hard for and something I know I can accomplish.”

After his first round, he’s got another three ahead of him ahead of the 72-hole cut, and, if he makes that, the final round on Saturday at Bloemfontein Golf Club will provide Sunshine Tour cards for 2015 to 30 players.

The 22-year-old plays out of Maccauvlei Country Club, which is Charl Schwartzel territory, and he started shakily with a bogey on the 12th – his third of the day. But he quickly retrieved that lost shot with a birdie on 14, and, after turning in level-par 36, he came home with four birdies, including three in a row from the first.

“It was really just about keeping the mistakes out of my play,” he said. “I found something on the range and in my practice rounds, which involves just hitting it with a bit of a neutral ball flight, which is working in the swirling wind here.”

After turning professional in 2013, and playing on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour, he took a bit of a break from trying to make it on the Sunshine Tour in 2014. “I just worked a bit and took some time off from golf,” he said.

The time away certainly seemed to pay dividends with his opening 68.

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