Five-time IGT Tour winner Bryandrew Roelofsz got the solid start he hoped for as he kicked off his Sunshine Tour Qualifying School campaign at Bloemfontein Golf Club on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old Edenvale golfer offset two bogeys with five birdies for a three-under-par 69 that left him tied for 15th in a group of 11 players, including two-time former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Thriston Lawrence and top ranked amateurs Paul Boshoff and Teaghan Gauche.
“I wanted to get off to a solid start and finish in the top 20,” Roelofsz said.
“There is nothing worse than starting Q-School with a big number, because it leaves you on the back foot, fighting for survival and it puts you under a lot of pressure. I aimed for a top 20 start, so I am really pleased I was able to get the job done.”
Roelofsz overturned an early drop at 12 with birdies at 14 and 18 and made back-to-back birdies just after the turn to get to three under. He reversed a second bogey at the par-five third with a final gain at the ninth.
“Hindsight is 20/20 and of course it could have been better,” he said.
“I had two soft bogeys and missed a short putt at the fifth for birdie. I ran over the green at 12 into the bunker and didn’t up and down, and didn’t pull off a fade around an overhanging tree quite as I intended at the third.
“I should have signed for a 66, but I’ll take a 69 this early in the tournament any day.”
Roelofsz lags four off the pace from fellow IGT Tour campaigners Michael Palmer and Terence Boardman, who share the three-way tie for the lead with Portugal’s Antonio Rosado.
“I think that it’s far too early in the week to worry about the lead,” Roelofsz said.
“Actually, I don’t think you should ever be thinking about it this week. The end goal is to finish in the top 30 to get your Sunshine Tour card and the only way to get there is to take things shot-for-shot and hole-by-hole.
“I have Stanley on the bag this week and he is a very experienced Tour caddie. He has already helped me to stick to the game plan and to keep the focus to the shot at hand. That strategy got me into the winner’s circle five times this season and that’s what I am sticking to.”
Four-time IGT Tour winner Palmer fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 at Schoemans Park, while Boardman produced his bogey-free effort at Bloemfontein Golf Club.
Rosado, a five-time winner on the country’s premier development Tour in 2014, enjoyed a four-birdie flurry from the fourth hole at Schoemans Park and added two more gains and two eagles to offset three bogeys for his 65.