Derik putts his way into Africa Open
Derik Ferreira took only 10 putts on his outward nine on the Fish River Sun Country Club course on Tuesday on his way to firing a seven-under-par 65 to qualify for the €1-million Africa Open.
He led Wallie Coetsee and Louis Calitz into the main event which starts on Thursday at East London Golf Club by one stroke, with England’s Andrew Marshall, and the South African trio of Peter Moolman, Ryan Thompson and Anthony Michael a further shot back.
“Today, the putter obviously worked,” he said without a hint of understatement after he made 30 for his opening nine which started on the 10th. “I just changed putters now, because last week I putted badly at the Joburg Open. I think it was a good change.”
Ferreira was one of 82 golfers who competed for 10 places in the Africa Open, a Sunshine Tour event co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
The players went back to the roots of the Africa Open, which was played for the first time in 2008 at the Fish River Sun Country Club, a scenic jewel of the Amathole District Municipality, when it was won by Shaun Norris.
Ferreira was trying to get into the event for the fourth time, and will tee off on Thursday in the tournament proper for the first time. “The closest I’ve been was in a playoff, and I didn’t make it,” he said, “so I’m really looking forward to going to East London to play it.”
He made three consecutive birdies from 12 to 14 on his opening nine, and then three more in a row from 16 to 18. “My back nine was not as good,” he said of his homeward journey which included just one birdie. “I was not as aggressive as I was on my front nine,” he added.
Jared Harvey, Martin du Toit and Italy’s Aron Zemmer came out on top in a nine-man play-off for the three remaining spots, with Wynand Dingle making it as first alternate.
Paul Bradshaw, Gert Myburgh, Darryn Lloyd, Tyrone Ryan and Jacques Kruyswijk missed out in the playoff.
Among those who missed out on three-under-par were veteran Kevin Stone, rookie MJ Daffue who had such a good week at last week’s Joburg Open, and Thabo Maseko.
LEADING SCORES (RSA unless specified):
65 - Derik Ferreira
66 - Wallie Coetsee, Louis Calitz
67 - Andrew Marshall (ENG), Pieter Moolman, Ryan Thompson, Anthony Michael
68 - Aron Zemmer (ITA), Martin du Toit, Jared Harvey
68 - Wynand Dingle
68 - Paul Bradshaw, Gert Myburgh, Darryn Lloyd, Tyrone Ryan, Jacques Kruyswijk
69 - Steven Ferreira, Steve Surry (ENG), Drikus van der Walt, Kyle Stevens, MJ Daffue, Thabo Maseko, Bryan Martin (USA), Brandon Detweiler (USA), Kevin Stone
70 - Maritz Wessels, Le Roux Ferreira, Yubin Jung, Derick Petersen, Michael du Toit, Duane Keun, Desne van den Bergh, Johan de Beer, Dean O'Riley, Shaun Smith, JJ Senekal
71 - Jacquin Hess, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Markus Brier (AUT), Ryan Tipping, Johan du Buisson, Shaun Ellis, CJ du Plessis, Jake Redman, Makgetha Mazibuko
72 - Clifford Howes, Greg Bentley (ZIM), Torben Baumann (GER), Brett Liddle, Reggie Adams, Laurie Canter (ENG), Ross Wellington, Stuart Clark (WAL), Michael Stewart (SCO), Daniel Hammond
73 - Richard Porter (GER), Alastair Forsyth (SCO), Bradley Sinnett, Michael Gligic (CAN)
74 - Ignatius Mketekete (ZIM), Alan McLean (SCO), Graham van der Merwe, Irvin Mazibuko, Gerhard Trytsman, Stuart Smith (BOT)
75 - Ben Mannix (ENG), Micky Hough (ZIM), Thomas Lovett, Alan Michell, David Hewan, Riekus Nortje, Mark Mahoney
76 - Raymond Mathonsi (SWZ), Kenneth Dube, Nic Henning
77 - Divan Gerber, Andre Cruse
79 - Mark Smith (MAW)
82 - Francois Coetzee
85 - Hilton Appel
89 - Brian Gondo (ZIM)
DSQ - Thabang Simon