Trevor Mahoney gave up his professional status two years ago, but he followed his heart and returned to Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School this week, where he’s hoping to revive his life-long dream of competing on the Sunshine Tour.
The 72-hole event was founded in 2004 and aims to give previously disadvantaged golfers a fair chance to compete for a season. There are 15 Sunshine Tour and 40 Big Easy Tour cards on offer.
After 54 holes the average age of the top five on the leaderboard was 24 years and eight months. The Sunshine Tour is focused on growing the game and it was pleasing to see a wave of young golfers contending this week.
Mahoney aims to use the tournament as a launching pad for the 2015 season, but getting a card is only the first step.
“I want to make it into 2015 on the Sunshine Tour, but that’s when the hard work starts. I’d like to make it into the Dimension Data Pro-Am and make the cut, maybe after that I can make the cut at one of the co-sanctioned events. If I can achieve those two goals then I’ll have a decent position on the Order of Merit and I’ll be able to relax a bit more and focus on competing,” he said.
On Thursday the 25-year-old shot 73 and shared third ahead of the final round, despite making a disappointing triple bogey on the 14th hole. It was solid day of golf and he felt ready to compete for the title.
“I’m looking forward to playing the last round tomorrow. It didn’t go as well as I would have liked today, but I kept my cool. I think a good result at this event will build up my confidence for the year,” he said.
Leading the way was Makhetha Mazibuko, who stretched his lead to two shots with a round of 71 at Modderfontein Golf Club on Thursday. The 26-year-old was five-under par for the week and will be a hard man to catch.