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17 Jan 2012 16:27
The final qualifying tournament for the British Open begins at the Royal Johannesburg golf club on Tuesday, with 51 players from 12 countries vying for three places at the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes in July.
Seventeen players who made the cut at the 2012 Johannesburg Open last week are among those competing in the two-day event.
Heading the field is South Africa’s Jaco van Zyl, who finished tied third, just three shots behind winner Branden Grace on Sunday.
However, he will have to overcome former Open competitors, including Brazil’s Adilson da Silva, 2007 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner James Kingston and fellow South Africans Jean Hugo and Martin Maritz, who qualified at last year’s IFQ Africa.
Van Zyl, who is world number 80, is fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
“You have to go out from the first hole and fire on all cylinders,” he said. You have to shoot as low as possible, because making a lot of pars will not get you far.
It would be fantastic to qualify for the Open.
One man who knows what it takes to succeed at IFQ is Hugo, who qualified for his third Open, the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews, through the event.
He is another player who is well acquainted with Royal Johannesburg’s par 72 East Course, having finished tied 32nd at last week’s Johannesburg Open.
“To play in the Open is a privilege and I think everybody will come out guns blazing,” said Hugo.
“It’s an amazing event and everyone wants to be a part of it, which is why we will all try so hard to make it. I’ve played it three times and it was amazing each time, so I’ll try my best.”—Sapa
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