IGT Tour winners Bryn Flanagan and David Ashley and regular campaigners Armandt Scholtz, Terence Boardman and Jason Diab are primed to cross the final hurdle in the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in Bloemfontein this weekend.
The quintet grabbed a seat of the bus at three under to slip inside the top 30 in Friday’s fourth round, but they will need to push the envelope if they hope to secure one of only 30 cards on offer in Saturday’s final round of the gruelling 90-hole examination.
Boardman opened with a blistering 65 at Bloemfontein Golf Club, but dropped well out of contention following rounds of 77 and 75 at Schoeman Park. Starting the fourth round in a tie for 67th, he produced another quality round at Bloemfontein to rocket into the top 30.
The 27-year-old Glendower pro notched half-a-dozen birdies to erase bogeys at 13 and 17 for a four-under-par 68 and was understandably pleased that he would have another shot at a low score in the final trip around Bloemfontein Golf Club on Saturday.
“I don’t know what it is about Schoeman Park,” Boardman said.
“I just don’t see the lines, I can’t putt on the greens and I seem to have the worst luck at that course. In the second, my tee shot hit the 250 meter marker and shot out of bounds. I mean, really, of all the luck in the world. That just put me into a negative mind set and I struggled to get myself feeling positive again.
“Once I step on to the first tee at Bloemfontein, it all changes. I feel positive and charged. The course suits my game and I love the greens. I’m stoked that I got myself back into the top 30 and I just need Bloemfontein to be kind to me one more time so I can secure my card.”
Flanagan managed to reverse double bogeys at eight and nine with four birdies, but further drops at seven and 17 saw him home in 74 strokes.
Diab carded a 73 and England’s Ashley finished level par on day four.
Scholtz from Boland, the only member of the quintet to play at Schoeman Park Golf Club, offset two bogeys with a pair of birdies and reeled in two more gains on his way to a four under 68.
Meanwhile Botswana’s Stuart Smith maintained pole position with a 70 and moved to 17 under.
England’s Jack Harrisson fired a 66 at Schoeman Park to finish two shots back, while four-time IGT Tour champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout fired a 66 at Bloemfontein, which bodes well for a final round charge.
Bezuidenhout lurks three strokes off the pace and one ahead of five-time champion Bryandrew Roelofsz, who stayed in touch at 12 under after returning a 73.