Sunshine Tour Final Qualifying School – Neil O Briain

‘Neil O’Briain is on the move. Over 5 gruelling rounds Neil won his Tour card for the Sunshine Tour which begins in April. The Sunshine Tour takes in tournaments in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland.

Neil kicks off his busy schedule in April and is flying to South Africa and Zimbabwe in the comfort of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines. Here at we are pleased to support Neil in his endeavours and will keep you updated on his progress on the Sunshine Tour. Read Neil’s account of his recent experience at Tour School’

Coming off a successful season in 2016 I was excited to get the year underway. I was also very nervous that I had virtually no scorecard in my hand since the PGA Playoffs last October. When I received the committees exemption into the tournament, through my management company Trinity Sports Management, it was a feeling of hope and fear.

I have been working closely with Chris Jelly and Donal Scott on my game over the winter months and it felt quite good. I felt more than capable of performing well in Joburg and obtaining my card for the 2017/2018 season. 

The goal for the week, on course, was to not make any mistakes that would result in double bogies. A silly thing to think but in my mind a very effective way of dealing with mistakes. Recovering from bogies is easy, recovering from a double is a different story. Gladly this small goal was hit and I had just enough birdies to counter the bogies in order to hit the 90 hole target of -5 with a few shots to spare.

Neil O Briain Golf

Truth be told it was a very indifferent week with a lot of good shots but a lot of poor ones. A scrappy few rounds in and around par were greatly helped by a round of 65 (-7) in my penultimate round. This leapfrogged me from just inside the cut mark into a strong position entering the final round.

A nervy start to my final round saw me bogey my first hole and then drive my ball from the second tee into the water hazard alongside the fairway. A 10 foot putt on the second green was a godsend, recording a much needed par in order not to drop a further shot. A great drive and accurate approach on the third left me a good opportunity for birdie, which I took. These three holes, in which they were played really settled my nerves and I turned my first nine holes in -2 for the round. From there I knew that the mark for my card was hovering around -5, with me at -8.

The goal then was to hit every fairway and every green coming in. Which was far from accomplished if I am being honest but a few good up and downs left me with a buffer entering the final few holes. 

A nervy three putt on 16 was the only blemish on my back nine. A sensible play at the 500 yard par 4  eighteenth left me a comforting par putt from 6 feet which I rolled in, securing my playing rights on the sunshine tour with 2 shots to spare.

I was delighted to be greeted by my dad as I came off the final green after a long but successful week. I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and also the huge support from family, friends and of course Andrea.

 I look forward to a successful season on the Sunshine Tour along with my exemptions for the BMW Championship at Wentworth, The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and a number of Challenge Tour starts.

Neil O Briain,
PGA Pro 

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