Tyrone juggling PGA Tour, Sunshine Tour balls

Carving out a niche on the PGA Tour is tough enough for Tyrone van Aswegen, but he wishes he could play more Sunshine Tour events too.

The 30-year-old San Diego resident carded a second-round 68 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek to move into a share of eighth, seven strokes behind the halfway leaders Gregory Bourdy and Charl Schwartzel.

“That’s the thing with the co-sanctioned events between the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour,” said Van Aswegen. “It’s definitely easier for Sunshine Tour players who play in Europe to keep their status here because of the five or six co-sanctioned events they play here and they don’t have to play much more.

“I’ve had to play 27 events on the Web.com Tour while I try to get onto the PGA Tour, plus I’ve needed to get six in here. That’s two different schedules,” he added.

It’s a similar problem – for different reasons – that some of the leaders on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit have as the Alfred Dunhill Championship marks the culmination of the race for that title: Louis Oosthuizen and Schwartzel will both not have their substantial winnings count towards the 2012 money list because they have been unable to play six events during the year.

It’s a dilemma for Van Aswegen, who won twice on the Sunshine Tour in 2008, as he really loves playing in his home country, but he has settled in the US and getting on the big-money tour that is the PGA Tour is clearly a good goal to have.

“I struggled towards the end of the season on the Web.com Tour,” he said. “I had a lot of good stuff going on in the beginning, and then I think I started thinking about stuff too much towards the end and missed a lot of cuts.”

He ended up outside the top 25 who gained automatic access to the PGA Tour, but he’s set to go out and try it all over again.

“The PGA Tour – that’s the goal for me,” he said.

So the Sunshine Tour is going to have to be fited in for him, if it’s at all possible. “I have a medical extension for the first two events next year, and I’ll have to try for invitations or even pre-qualify for others if I’m to regain my status,” he said. “It’s tough to say what I’m going to do right now, but I want to play here. It’s just difficult,” he added.

Much will depend on how he fares in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, because a good performance will bring him to the attention of the people who issue invitations.

“It’s always tough asking for invitations, but all I can do is try and do what I can do and just play well, and we’ll go from there,” he said.

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