Torben Baumann shot an incredible 62 at Schoeman Park Golf Club on Saturday to reach a 26-under-par total and claim victory at the Sunshine TourÂs Qualifying School.
ÂI canÂt believe it! IÂve never won such a big tournament, and when I got into the last round I knew I had to go for it. I played 10-under-par today, which is incredible for me,Â he said.
The German was electric over the final 18, carding 31 on either side of the turn to finish the tournament 10 shots better than last yearÂs winning total of 16-under-par.
ÂThis is really special and I feel very good now. I have a strong mind after this, and anything is possible. I played some big tournaments in Germany, but IÂve never won a tournament as big as this,Â he said.
The 265 Qualifying School entrants played two rounds at both Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs before a cut to the top 60 and ties, who played a final round at Schoeman Park, after which the top 30 and ties received cards. This year the mark fell at six-under-par, with 36 golfers making the grade and earning playing privileges for the 2013 Sunshine Tour season.
The scoring was incredible over the week and Baumann led the charge, carding 33 birdies and two eagles on his way to rounds of 70, 70, 67, 65 and 62. On Saturday the final three-ball carded a collective 18 birdies and two eagles.
The tournament had 42 international entrants and reflected the growth of the Sunshine Tour, which now carries six events co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
ÂI decided in November to come here where itÂs warm during the European winter,Â said Baumann. ÂI plan to try for a European Tour card in the future, and the co-sanctioned events are a big advantage of the Sunshine Tour. I am really looking forward to the year.Â
In spite of the quality field, nine amateurs earned cards, all of them South African. Leading the amateur front was Duane Keun, who carded a final-round 67 to claim sixth place.
ÂI canÂt ask for anything better. This really means the world to me, because this is my first time here, and IÂm just an amateur. Everything turned out perfectly,Â he said.
JP van der Walt capped off a great week with a 66 at Schoeman Park, earning sole second on 23-under, while first-round leader MJ Daffue made two eagles en route to third place on 21-under-par.
The full 68 players who made the cut will receive Big Easy Tour cards, but SaturdayÂs happiest were the 36, who eagerly signed entry forms to the Telkom PGA Pro-Am Â the first event on the 2013 Sunshine Tour schedule.