“Those old idiosyncrasies and habits get you under pressure,” he said. “I’m playing under quite a bit of pressure, because I’ve lost my card in Europe and I want to use this as a stepping stone.”
“I’ve been working hard on a few things with my game, working on routines that make you more consistent under pressure, so hopefully that continues to pay off this week.”
Van der Walt has competed across the globe, but lost his card when he finished the 2014 European season ranked 129th, some 19 place shy of retaining full exemption.
The recent Cape Town Open winner had recorded a number of runner-up finishes across the globe, including five on the Sunshine Tour, three on the Nationwide Tour, one on the US PGA Tour, two on the European Tour and one on the Asian Tour.
He shone during his recent Cape success, overcoming three-time European Tour winner Hennie Otto and young gun Michael Hollick for a maiden win by a margin of six shots.
“You have to just back yourself and go for it,” said van der Walt. “If you pack in and stop playing then you will never know. I am living proof that you should never, never give up.”
This week he’s worked his way into the final 71 at QSchool, all of whom are vying for a 2014 European Tour card at PGA Catalunya Resort. The top 25 and ties will earn a card.
After 72 holes the top 25 were locked in on eight-under-par or better, while Carlos Del Moral led on 14-under-par. Van der Walt hung in on four-under-par.
The first four rounds weed out the field, but from Thursday the game is on. A two-round race at the end of a slog will determine who has the most in their tank.
Van der Walt has seen it all in his 17 years as a professional and that will help him find those extras gears required over the next two days. One big round could take him straight into Europe, because the final dice are being thrown over the next two days.