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6th February 2018 | Sunshine Tour

Van der Walt claims first pre-qualifier spot

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Drikus van der Walt shot a pre-qualifying round six-under-par 66 at Glenvista Golf Club to take the first of 15 qualifier spots for this week’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship which tees off on Thursday.

He opened his round with a bogey on the par-four first hole but kept his cool to slot home two birdies on the front nine to turn in 34. He then produced a solid back nine as he fired in four more birdies to pull one shot clear of second-placed Jason Smith who shot a 67.

“I started off slowly with a birdie today,” Van der Walt remarked. “A pre-qualifying round is always so tough. And, because it is the only ticket that gets you into this tournament, there’s a bit of added pressure. But I have been in a couple of pre-qualifiers before so I know how to apply myself.”

And, Van der Walt knows that to stand a chance of producing anything special during the actual tournament – where the field is always stronger – he will have to put together a few rounds similar to the one he posted on Tuesday.

“You always want to play with and against the top players.” He said. “Today I putted very well and I was solid with the driver. My coach and I did some work on my putting and driving and now it feels like my game is in a good shape for the past four or five weeks.”

The rest of the spots were taken by England’s Jeff Inglis, Desvonde Botes and Morne Buys who all shared third. In a tie for sixth were Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh and Mohammad Rauf Mandhu of Zimbabwe while Mandhu’s countryman Sheldon Steyn came in in a share of eighth with Zambia’s Dayne Moore and Daniel Hammond on one-under.

Andre Cruse, England’s Luke Joy, Byron Nel, Neil O’Biain and Bradford Vaughn make up the 15 players who get into this week’s field via the challenging pre-qualifying round.

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