At the start of each tournament, professionals aim to make the final round within three shots of the lead, go low over the last 18 and eventually win. This week it’s a little different for Jacques Blaauw, who is three shots away from a European Tour card and tied for 41st at Qualifying School.
He’s gone through five gruelling rounds at PGA Catalunya Resort and currently totals two under par for the six-day marathon in Spain.
Blaauw was 12 strokes back of Edoardo Molinari’s lead, but winning is not the point this week. The top 25 and ties get to play a full European Tour schedule next year and Blaauw is close.
He made the four-round cut along with five other South Africans and shot 71 on Wednesday to join a tie for 42nd place, two shots away from the top 25.
The pressure of this gauntlet is huge. Players have to grind for days on end, hoping to completely change their careers by the end of the week.
Blaauw has played enough golf abroad to know how important this could be, but he’ll need one last push in order to make it.
In a safer place was Zander Lombard, who was tied for 14th after five rounds and should get a card with a final round of par or better.
Keith Horne shot 70 on Wednesday for his share of 22nd, effectively lying on the number with one round to play.
Dean Burmester was tied for 37th, while Blaauw and Jaco Ahlers were tied for 41st. Erik van Rooyen needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat to improve on his share of 52nd place.