Sipho Bujela shot 72 at Modderfontein Golf Club for the third round of Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School on Thursday, which was exactly what he needed to remain within sight of one of the 15 Sunshine Tour cards on offer.
“I came into today wanting to keep things smooth, but I was struggling off the tee and it was really tough to get the score. It was just one of those days, so I’m definitely happy with the outcome and I’ll take 72 and run,” he said.
The Soweto local had a tough scrap at Modderfontein on Thursday, but managed to salvage par for the round and reached the 54-hole mark on seven-under for the tournament, which was good enough for sole third with 18 holes to go.
“To stay on tour is a privilege and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that. I just want to be a pro, but most importantly I want to see myself competing more. That should give me the urge to get where I want to be,” he said.
Leading the way was Trevor Mahoney, who has been the out-and-out player of the tournament and was 18-under-par after three rounds. The 26-year-old made his first two bogeys of the week during the third round, but he continued to rack up birdies, including a superb three at the 18th.
“My goal from the beginning of the week was 69 every day, but I had two great rounds to go 15-under after 36 holes. Today I decided to stay calm and continue with my goal. It was nice to finish with a tap-in for birdie and I needed that one to get my 69,” he said.
Mahoney is also the defending champion, but his winning total of five-under-par from last year was a distant memory on Thursday and his goal for this week stretches well beyond obtaining a Sunshine Tour card.
“I want to win the tournament, because it will give me a lot of confidence going into the next season. This is the best I’ve ever played three rounds, so my game is probably at its peak. I have a goal to be 21-under or better, and that would be awesome,” he said.
Omar Sandys began the third round with an eagle and went on to card 71 for sole second on 10-under, followed by Bujela on seven-under. Mikhail Tewary and Siphiwe Siphayi held a share of fourth place on five-under apiece.