He plays sparingly lately, but Tjaart van der Walt seems to have moved into a phase in his career when he makes every tournament appearance count – and he tees it up this week on The European Tour’s Nordea Masters in Malmo, Sweden.
He’s played just six-events on The European Tour this season, and he finds himself pretty comfortably settled at 85th on the Race to Dubai Rankings. All of those events have been co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, including the tournament in which he made his most recent appearance, the historic tri-sanctioned event which brought the Asian Tour to the party.
In that Indian Ocean island tournament, he had his customary solid performance, sharing 11th behind winner George Coetzee. He’s had two top-10s – a share of eighth in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last December, and of third in March’s Tshwane Open, also behind champion Coetzee.
And with just one missed cut in his 2015 resume, in the Africa Open, and a worst finish of a share of 46th in the South African Open Championship, consistency is clearly his long suit as he prepares himself for what could be a great European summer.
That things look rosy for him was underlined emphatically when he came barrelling through the field a week ago in the 36-hole sectional qualifier at Walton Heath’s Old and New courses to nail down a spot in the US Open. He carded a birdie and two eagles in his last six holes to make it into and come through a five-way play-off for the four final spots.
While getting into any major is clearly a goal of all golfers, he will take the pleasure of making it to his June date at Chambers Bay for the US Open and attempt to turn it into form that will get him into the Open Championship at St Andrews on July 15.
The Open is the only major he’s played in, back in 2004, when he finished in a share of 36th behind Todd Hamilton, who won his only major in a play-off with Ernie Els.
Getting yet another good result under his belt in Malmo will be high on his agenda, and he will be joined by fellow-South Africans Hennie Otto, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Darren Fichardt, Jbe’ Kruger, Jaco van Zyl, Jake Roos, Justin Walters and Merrick Bremner in the field.