Versfeld not fretting about maiden victory

Allan Versfeld only thinks about winning golf tournaments after they’re over, but he gets another chance to pull off his maiden professional title in the R600,000 BMG Classic which gets underway on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Sunshine Tour rookie has started his career in a hurry, and after his share of seventh in the lucrative Joburg Open in January, and has kept his nose in front in the Rookie of the Year race ever since.

But it’s his recent form that has been the eye-opener ahead of the 54-hole event at the 6,914-metre Glendower Golf Club as he has pulled off three top-five finishes in the last month – and he came close to victory in late August with a second place two shots behind winner Adilson Da Silva.

“I really just think about playing the best golf I can,” said Versfeld, “rather than trying to win tournaments, so the results must just take care of themselves.”

He was third, a long way off Darren Fichardt’s pace in last week’s Suncoast Classic, but that six-stroke gap belies the fact that he is in contention week after week – he was fifth in the KCM Zambia Open and shared third in the Platinum Classic behind winner Hennie Otto.

“It is difficult on the tour, but it’s not as unbelievably hard as people say it is,” he said. “It’s a great platform to learn what you need to learn. The gap is only big if you think it’s big.”

The run of good results has meant Versfeld has climbed to 12th on the 2011 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with season’s winnings of R543,344.92 – and that gives him the security to play with the freedom of knowing he will get into the tournaments he wants to play by virtue of his ranking instead of having the struggle through pre-qualifiers.

“I’m also trying to earn my European Tour card this year,” said Versfeld. He has progressed through the First Stage Qualifying School, and will travel to the Second Stage event in Cartagena, Spain in early December.

Versfeld’s nearest pursuer in the race for the Rookie of the Year title is JG Claassen, who is sitting on R240,042.49 – a long way off the pace.

But Claassen is the only rookie to have won a title on this year’s Sunshine Tour when he took the MTC Namibia PGA Championship in March.

Versfeld is not letting that prey on his mind as he looks for his first win. “I just try and play normal golf and just try to finish in under par,” he said. “That way, you’re always going to be making money.”

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