Tomorrow’s champions head for Qualifying School

Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs will play host to the 2013 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School this week, where 265 hopefuls will look to secure their playing rights for the coming season.

The race will get underway on Tuesday, with players being tested over two rounds at each course, after which there will be a cut to the top 60 and ties. Those who make the cut will play a final round at Schoeman Park Golf Club on Saturday and by the close of that final round, the top 30 and ties will receive their Sunshine Tour cards.

Looking for a return to former glory is Anton Haig. The troubled youngster had immense talent and won the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2007 at the tender age of 21. He struggled to handle the pressure of success at such a young age and his golf suffered as a result, but recently a more mature Haig has graced the fairways. At the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December last year he made the cut after shooting a second-round 66. It was a good indicator that he’s ready to make his comeback.

On the other end of the spectrum is amateur Shaun Smith, who is taking his shot at glory after grinding away in the amateur ranks for several years. The 20-year-old has tested himself via invites to several tournaments on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour.

His first appearance was at Big Easy Glendower in 2011, where he finished tied 18th. In 2012 he played three Big Easy events and recorded results of 41st, 3rd and 20th respectively, proving that he is ready to make the step up to qualifying school.

He’ll face stiff competition from the top-ranked amateur in the field this week – Drikus Bruyns. The Hexvallei Golf Club representative finished within the top 25 at every event of his amateur season in 2012, finishing the year with a win at the International Teams tournament at Maccauvlei Golf Club. He’ll bring plenty of confidence from that success as he looks to stake his claim to a Sunshine Tour card.

The depth of talent at the 2012 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School is huge. New-comers will have to tackle tour veterans and natural skill may not be enough… this year players will need to rise to the occasion in order to secure one of the 30 cards on offer.

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