Teboho on top in Swazi qualifier

Teboho Sefatsa’s pre-qualifying round at Royal Swazi Golf Club on Thursday couldn’t have gone much better – he shot 66 to claim one of 10 places at the Lombard Insurance Classic, which starts Friday.

“I was just hitting close – and you’re not going to miss many from inside 10 feet. So the secret was that I hit the ball very, very well today,” he said.

The 28-year-old made the turn in 31 strokes and coasted to six-under by the close of play, joining Divan Gerber and Johan Bekker at the top of the leaderboard.

“I’m pretty chuffed,” said Sefatsa. “I’ve been playing well for the last few weeks, so it’s good to continue with that form. I’m looking for a good result here – anything in the top 10 this week will be good enough, and we’ll take it from there.”

It was a chance to continue his run of good form, which includes a share of ninth at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open and 45th at the Investec Royal Swazi Open. He felt that his game was hot at the moment, and he had kept it up by playing as much as possible.

“I’m enjoying the good form and I just need to capitalize on it and finish strong over the second half of the season. My season on the Big Easy Tour has been pretty good so far. It makes a big difference playing that tour, because you’re always in the groove after those extra competitive rounds. It’s easier to keep your form that way,” he said.

Gerber was also excited with his 66, and felt that he could do well at the Lombard Classic. His target for the week was keeping it straight and making greens, which is a solid approach to any course.

“I didn’t come here with the biggest expectations, but it went alright. The putter is good and I’m going good. If you hit greens you can score here – just keep it in play. I like this course, and I came out here to get some confidence,” he said.

Bekker, winner at Big Easy Modderfontein, was the third player to share the lead. He felt that continuous hard work and a solid short game were the secrets to success.

“It’s been a while since I qualified for a tournament – the chipping and putting makes the difference,” said Bekker. “I’ve been working on a few things and we’ll get there, but for now I’m feeling confident and looking forward to this week.

“This game is very up and down, especially when you start working on things. Getting the swing on track to perform week-in and week-out is my aim. If I can get my ball-striking right then I will do well consistently.”

It was a tough pre-qualifier, with Tyrone Ryan, Derick Petersen, Alpheus Kelapile, Attie Schwartzel, Mark Fensham, Danie van Tonder and Francois Coetzee taking the remaining spots. All seven players shot five-under-par 67.

Sefatsa has played the course many times, and he looked forward to a week full of opportunity. “I’ve played here for over eight seasons, and I’ve struggled on the greens in the past, but I’m coming to terms with them. I’m feeling confident, so we’ll see what happens during the week,” he said.

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