American Thomas Longbella and South African amateur Gregg Gilson led the golfers who made it through the First Stage of the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School at Maccauvlei Golf Club on Thursday.
Longbella signed for a final round of 72 and Gilson carded a 68 to both finish the 54-hole qualifying tournament on 10 under par. They ended one shot clear of South Africa’s Dean O’Riley and his amateur countryman Christopher Long.
The top 40 players and ties progressed to the Final Stage of Qualifying School, which will be played in April.
Longbella has been top of the leaderboard since round one and was delighted to make it through on his first attempt.
“It feels great to make it through. I’m excited for the Final Stage now, and hopefully the golf then is as good as it was this week. I’m flying back to the United States now and then I’ll be back here in April for the next step on the journey,” he said.
Gilson was equally pleased to advance.
“It was a good week. I’m just more relieved to get through. That was always the goal. To play well was a bonus though, and it will give me some confidence going into the Final Stage.”