Following his solid start to life in the professional game where he carded a five-under-par 67 opening round in the 2017 Zimbabawe Open, Luke Jerling admits he was nervous but is well prepared to compete some more in the second round.
Zimbabwe Open is underway at Royal Harare.
Former Zimbabwe Open winner Jean Hugo led after the first round on Thursday while Zimbabwe’s top golfer Ryan Cairns was also among the leaders along with Jerling.
Jerling, an amateur not so long ago, earned his playing privileges via the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School earlier this year and he says it was that which prepared him for competing at the high level demanded by professional golf.
“Q-School definitely prepared me for this,” he said. “I was very nervous for my first start and you could see the first hole here was very shaky.
“Luckily I made birdie on the next and just kept going from there. I got comfortable. I kind of got used to all the cameras and spectators, and I’m very chuffed about that.”
And when he got comfortable, Jerling played like a seasoned professional, cancelling out that bogey on the first hole with four birdies on the front nine. His back nine consisted of two birdies and no bogey.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my career,” Jerling said. “I am over the moon. I think I just hit the ball in the right places and apart from that bad tee shot on 18, I always gave myself opportunities and never put pressure on myself.”
Now in a position of comfort after the opening round, Jerling will want to steer clear of the mistakes which saw him bogey the first hole because at this stage of the event, even the smallest of errors will be dearly punished.
And having had a feel of a professional event and having stood his ground with some of the more experienced campaigners like Oliver Bekker, Trevor Fisher Jr and CJ du Plessis among others, Jerling should feel confident going into the second round.
It’s a good feeling for him to have made what appears to be the right call in turning professional. “I’m 24 going on 25 now,” he said, “and I think if I didn’t get my card this year, I would have gone into the working ranks to try and earn a bit of money and pay my own way back.
“Luckily I didn’t have to do that, and I can have this year and see how it goes. And my office is as good as it gets! It’s 23 degrees and not a breath of wind. I get to play golf every day – it’s a dream! I hope it keeps on improving.