Tjaart van der Walt missed out on securing his European Tour card by one position last year, and things are looking up for him after a two fine opening rounds in the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
He’s currently lying 118th in the 2013 Race to Dubai, and he needs to finish the year inside the top 110 in order to secure his playing privileges for 2014.
He opened with a four-under-par 67, and, after a level-par 71 in the second round, found himself in second place one stroke behind hometown boy Liam Bond – and one of just two South Africans to make the cut. The other was Justin Walters on level-par 142 at the halfway mark.
“I showed a bit of grit out in the wind today,” said Van der Walt who came fifth in the Africa Open and second in St Omer after losing on the first hole of a play-off to Simon Thornton. “That’s not always my strong point, but I managed to golf the ball in the right direction and got up and down a few times and made a couple of putts.”
He’s €28,000 out of 110th spot at the moment, and is making a well-orchestrated effort to ensure he doesn’t endure the same disappointment he suffered last year.
“I’ve been playing very well the whole year,” he said, “but I haven’t been able to get into enough events. That’s given me motivation to work harder on my game and I’ve got a good stable behind me, and everyone is rooting for good results when I have to play well.
“When you don’t play that often, it’s hard to show up and play well. But who knows – some of the hard work will start paying off. I’ve got a few events coming up that I can play in and do well in and secure playing privileges for next year. Because that’s the goal: To have a job next year,” he added.
He started his second round in Wales on the back nine, and turned in two over after bogeys on 12 and 14. He made another on seven, but birdies on five and then two in a row on eight and nine saw him safely into second place.
Walters fired his second consecutive level-par round to find himself going into the weekend in a share of 20th place, five shots off the pace.