Erik van Rooyen’s good season will continue at the Gary Player Country Club after finishing off in Turkey with a 67.
The Joburg Open runner-up ticks off a career goal by advancing to the Nedbank Golf Challenge for the first time after a steady 2018.
Van Rooyen, dealing with a neck strain, opened with a 67 at the Turkish Airlines Open despite not playing a practice round but failed to hold his place as he slipped down the leaderboard with rounds of 71 and 73.
Now, he boards the plane back to South Africa with momentum after a closing 67 and admits he’s smiling again.
‘I was less pleased with the 71 and 73 that followed, but shooting 67 in the final round to finish at six under has me smiling again,’ he said on Sunday.
‘It’s been a long season and I want to finish it well. First it was the neck spasm, then two frustrating rounds with my irons, but I capped it off with a good one. My caddie [Jeff Jackson] reminded me at the 4th hole when I got a little frustrated that we still had lots of holes. That put me in a positive mindset. I had a great eagle at seven, which is a tough par five to reach in two. I drove it down the middle, had 262 yards into the breeze, hit a 4-wood nice and high with a baby fade to four foot and made the putt.’
Van Rooyen is taking a confident tone into a dream week as he tees up in Africa’s Major with his family and friends in the gallery for support.
‘I’m definitely heading to Sun City with a lot of positives. Despite the frustrations, I feel good about my game and my season.
‘It’s going to be great to finally play in Africa’s Major. It’s a dream come true and I get to share it with my wife and all my family. I can’t wait.’
– By Lali Stander in Turkey
Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images