He made it through the qualifier into the main tournament for the second week in a row, and Paul de Beer followed that up with an opening round of 67 on Tuesday in the R750,000 Nedbank Affinity Cup being played at the Lost City Golf Course.
It’s been a process taking nearly a year for the man who earned his Sunshine Tour card at Qualifying School in January, but he’s starting to feel as if he belongs as a professional golfer.
“It feels as if things are starting to come together this year,” he said. “I played well today – very well, actually. It was some of my best golf of the year, I’m enjoying it, the pressure is not there as much anymore.”
It was a solid round of golf, as he made two birdies in his opening nine, and then picked up four more on his way home, including a well-played one on 18 where he laid up instead of going for the green in two. I neat little chip left him less than three feet and he made the putt confidently.
It helped that he felt at home in the conditions at Lost City. “It’s an awesome course and in great condition, and you can’t ask for much more.” he said.
Part of the reason he feels at home in the bushveld-like conditions is that he comes from Mokopane – previously Potgietersrus – in the Limpopo province bushveld. His home club is Kameeldoring Country Club, in the shadow of the Waterberg mountains.
“It’s a nice course, nice and easy,” he said of the course that has no bunkers. “It’s a good place to get some good rounds going – get the confidence up with some low rounds.
“I hope the people there follow me,” he added. He plays out of Silver Lakes in Pretoria now, where the infrastructure helps him practice better, and his coaching staff is close at hand.
When he earned his card at Qualifying School, he knew he was set for a tough year, but he had no idea exactly how tough.
“The first year on tour, is really, really hard,” he said. “Anyone who says it’s easy can think again. I didn’t expect it to be this difficult when I played Q-School. But it’s nice to get through now. I’ve started to get to know the guys, I’m starting to enjoy it more, you get noticed a bit and the pressure starts to let up as you play better.”
Five-under will do that to your confidence…