18th May 2017 | Sunshine Tour
Rookies impress once again
Sunshine Tour rookies continue to impress in their maiden season on Tour and this was made clear on Thursday when six out of 15 pre-qualifying spots for this week’s Lombard Insurance Classic were taken by the newcomers at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club.
NJ Arnoldi, Martin Rohwer, Aubrey Beckley, Chilean Matias Calderon, Gerard du Plooy and Luke Jerling secured their spots through a pre-qualifying round while Coert Groenewald’s six-under 66 was enough to win him the round and guarantee him a spot at the event. The pre-qualifying round always brings pressure to the players because it requires them to bring their best game from the onset if they have any ambitions of entering a tournament. Jerling knows for sure.
This is a second successive event he enters via the gruelling qualifying round. He qualified for the Investec Royal Swazi Open over a fortnight ago here, and then booked his spot for this event via a three-under 69 score.
“I wouldn’t say I enjoy them (qualifying rounds) but I think at the same time it gives you some extra tournament preparation,” Jerling said, “and it means I can play a competitive round of golf before the main tournament.
“It was not easy out there today because you had about nine guys playing for a few spots so I am happy I made it through.”
Jerling says having to qualify for tournaments has some degree of pressure in it because, for him, having to travel from Port Elizabeth just to play one round has its challenges. “It’s a long trip but I really want to get into tournaments because I really feel like my chances are good once I’m in there, especially playing two rounds before the cut is made,” he says.
Members of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18, Omar Sandys and Altaaf Bux, have also made it into the field for this R1-million event.
The first three events this season have produced some great performances by rookies. Herman Loubser and Zack Byrd were firmly in contention at the Investec Royal Swazi Open, and showed that it shouldn’t be long before a rookie can get a win.