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Golf | SA

JP van der Walt © Gallo Images

JP continues to dominate Q-School



JP van der Walt became the first player since 2010 to shoot 66 at Bloemfontein Golf Club during Sunshine Tour Qualifying School, earning a one-stroke lead at the close of round two.

“It was solid golf out there. I got off to such a flyer, four-under after five, that it began to feel like I couldn’t miss a putt. My iron play was superb – my first missed green came 10 holes into the round, and that meant plenty of chances to score,” he said.

Van der Walt showed his class over the first 36 holes of the tournament, carding 66 at both Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs to go one stroke clear of overnight leader MJ Daffue. To be in the lead is new territory for the Western Province local, but his confidence was high, which means he’ll trust his game and stay patient.

“I’m in a really good position now. It feels like my game is there and I can give this a proper shot. I haven’t been in the lead too much, but my plan is to stick with my routines. I’ve put a lot of effort into my game and I feel like this is the year I’ll start competing properly,” he said.

The 265 Qualifying School contestants must play two rounds at both Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs, after which there is a cut to the top 60 and ties, who will play a final round at Schoeman Park. The leading 30 and ties after 90 holes will receive 2013 Sunshine Tour cards.

Van der Walt came to Bloemfontein with the hopes of winning Qualifying School and he’s zeroing-in on that goal. The 27-year-old will need to keep his head down, however, because this year the field has great depth and victory will be no small task.

Daffue knew it would be tough to follow up his excellent opening round of 63, and did well to card a respectable 70 at Bloemfontein Golf Club. He’s also hunting victory this week, and knew exactly what needed to be done.

“I have to target a score over the next few days, but what I'm really aiming for is three more good rounds. If I can shoot between three- and five-under over the next few days I think it will be enough.

“I'm used to playing with some big names from my college golf days, and a lot of those guys have gone on to become some of the best amateurs in the world. That’s the best indicator of what I am capable of,” he said.

Jean-Paul Strydom was the top-scoring amateur at the 36-hole mark. He shot an impressive 67 at Schoeman Park on Wednesday and moved into a share of fourth at nine-under-par.

“Playing professional golf has always been a dream for me, since I was little. Getting the chance to turn pro is really exciting for me and seeing young guys succeeding on the international stage gives me hope. I get inspiration from knowing that I've played golf with some of them, because I know where they are now and hopefully I can get there one day,” he said.

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