With no sponsor to boost him into tournaments, Vickesh Singh had to grind on and off the course just to make it to Sunshine Tour events throughout 2011.
But the 29-year-old would not be put down Â he returned to hunt one of 10 Tour cards on offer at Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School and shot 69 at Observatory golf Club to lead the first round on Tuesday.
ÂI only managed to make six events on the Sunshine Tour this year Â I was working hard just to make it to the events. I have been grinding away this year, working on my fitness, my chipping and my putting, and today that paid off,Â he said.
The moment of real satisfaction came at the 17th Â He hit a solid three-wood, followed it with a seven-iron to four foot from the pin and boxed the putt for birdie. ÂMy caddie said: ÂAll you need is a good tee shot,Â and then I hit that three-wood so sweetly. After that I turned to him and said: ÂWe started birdie, birdie, weÂre going to finish birdie, birdie,Â said Singh.
His starting pair of birdies was offset by drops at the 3rd and 4th, but Singh recovered with a further birdie at the 7th to turn at one-under.
On the back stretch he birdied 14, dropped at 15 and finished with consecutive birdies at 17 and 18 to hold the clubhouse lead by four strokes. ÂYou have to make fairways here. If you donÂt keep it in play youÂre going to be chopping,Â said the Mount Edgecombe Country Club professional.
At one-over and in an early share of second were Thanda Mavundla and amateur Ashwin Krishen, who both carded 73.
SinghÂs determination and patience was rewarded on Tuesday, and he readied himself to grind to success during the week.