The Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung returns to Wild Coast Sun Country Club for the first time in three years and Theunis Spangenberg secured his place in the 72-man field when he shot 68 in the Tuesday pre-qualifier.
“It’s nice to shoot under par. I was nervous on the first today, maybe for the first time in six years! One shot can kill you in these pre-qualifiers, so you have to stay focused, especially in these winds,” he said.
The series comprises six tournaments that each carry a R600,000 prize fund with each event staged in a different province of South Africa. Each event has a field size of 72 and there is tight competition to make it into these winter events.
Spangenberg was determined to make it into the limited-field event this week and took on the breezy Tuesday round at Wild Coast Sun Country Club. The par-70 course is the shortest on the Sunshine Tour’s rotation, but the coastal winds that pick up over the Indian Ocean make it a good test.
“I played well today and my putter was hot. I drove it nicely and with my short game it really felt good all around. Hopefully the wind blows, because it helps me to stay focused. You avoid shots that you don’t have to and if you make a few putts there is a good score in the wind,” he said.
The tournament runs for 54 holes, with a cut to the leading 40 and ties coming after the close of the second round. There is a separate pro-am competition that runs simultaneously and for the first two rounds the Sunshine Tour professionals pair up with an amateur partner and compete against the other pairs using a Better Ball Stableford scoring system.
For Spangenberg the entire week is a treat, because he was one of 15 to make the grade at pre-qualifying and secure his spot for the tee-off on Wednesday.
“All of my game feels good at the moment and now I have to look at stringing three rounds together,” he said.
JG Claassen and Eddie Taylor joined Spangenberg in a share of first on two-under, while Pieter Moolman finished fourth on one-under.