Redman ready to rise at BMG Classic

Jake Redman describes himself as just another new kid on the block in terms of his experience in the paid ranks, but the Knysna professional is determined to drive his way to the forefront before the end of the season.

Redman’s push for glory begins at this week’s BMG Classic, which tees off at Glendower Golf Club on Thursday.

The Southern Cape golfer faces some strong opposition in the R600 000 tournament, but will not let his fellow competitors detract from his lofty goals.

“My one goal for 2011 is to break into the top 70 on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit; the other to nail a maiden victory,” he said.

The biggest challenge for players like Redman is making it through the qualifiers into tournaments, which is why he says opportunities to play in full field events like the BMG Classic are rare and should be taken advantage of.

“There are just a handful of events left, but thanks to the Bearing Man Group, we have nearly 150 players competing this week. On the one hand it raises the stakes and piles the pressure on, but it sure beats qualifying for one of 10 spots.

“In the last 18 months I’ve learned that to win you have to be in contention. You have to drive yourself, you have work diligently and be committed. I’ve put in the work, so I just have to exercise patience and the victory will come. I will just chase my goal quietly.”

Meanwhile Rookie Race leader Allan Versfeld is also on a quest to get the monkey off his back.

The promising young pro had a rather meteoric rise to fame when he tied for seventh in his first professional outing at the Joburg Open in January.

“The experience was both exhilarating and intimidating,” said Versfeld. “There was a lot of pressure on me early on to break through but it still hasn’t happened. Of course I’m hunting a maiden win, but I have learned to shut everything out and just concentrate on my game. The last nine months on Tour have taught me that you should pick your goal and work towards winning slowly, round-by-round. You just have to deal with each tournament on its own merit.”

The diminutive 20-year-old from Sandton could find the punch to land his first title at Glendower.

Although his season took a slight dip, he made every cut and a runner-up finish at the Vodacom Origins in Sishen in August got his engines roaring again.

“It is difficult on the tour, but it’s not as unbelievably hard as people say it is,” said Versfeld, who posted three top five finishes last month.

“Sponsors like BMG gives the rookies like me a great platform to learn what you need to learn. I think the gap is only big, if you think it’s big.”

Versfeld currently ranks 12th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. Redman is a long way off in 87th spot. His earnings are less than a tenth of the R543 344 Versfeld has amassed this season, but the 24-year-old believes he has the determination to attempt and finish the journey.

“I feel I am playing better than I was last year and next year will even be better,” he said. “Then again, this could be my week.”

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