GOLFER Sheldon Steyn will line up beside the biggest names on Africa’s premier professional tour this season after earning his Sunshine Tour card at Bloemfontein Golf Club in South Africa on Saturday.
Following five gruelling rounds, Steyn finished in position 29 and was just a shot clear of the three-under figure that was the final cut-off for Sunshine tour cards.
Steyn, who turned professional last year, was one of 31 players who earned their cards at the 2014 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School.
He got off to a dream start after opening with a four-under par 68, but a lengthy rain delay on the second day affected his rhythm as he could only card a three-over par 75.
After shooting one-over par 73 in the third round it seemed as if Steyn’s campaign was coming off the rails, but he stormed back into contention with a sparkling six-under par 66 on Friday.
Needing one more solid round to secure his card, an exhausted Steyn almost blew his chance as he had two bogeys and a double bogey against just two birdies in his first nine holes.
He also struggled on the back nine, but needing a birdie on the last hole, the former St Georges College schoolboy held his nerve to register a decisive birdie that earned him his tour card for next season.
“Well, for a start I don’t want to go through that again. It’s really tough mentally and physically, but I am really happy to finally be on tour and carry our flag. I want to thank my family and my girlfriend Michelle, who have all been there though the tough times. There are a lot more people that have supported me and I would like to say thank you to them all,” he told our sister paper NewsDay Sport from his base in South Africa yesterday.
Steyn, who has set his sights on a strong performance at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open in April, said his main goal was to ensure he maintains his card by playing well on the Sunshine Tour.
“My next goal is to maintain my card and do well in the Zimbabwe Open. I have a big mountain to climb this year to keep my card as I teach as well so it’s gonna be a busy year,” he said.
South African Juan Langeveldt led the way with a closing two-under-par 70 on Saturday to finish two clear of his compatriot Drikus van der Walt in the 2014 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School.