Ahlers delighted to book Open ticket

Cape Town - Jaco Ahlers will compete in only his second Open Championship this year after his stellar performance at this past weekend's South African Open.

The burly South African finished tied for fourth on 15-under par - six shots behind winner Branden Grace.

Ahlers pocketed €49 989 (R803 469) for his four days' work and jumped up to 164th in the world rankings.

Ahlers was one of three players - along with Grace and Englishman Marcus Armitage - to secure their spots for the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St George's in England.

This will be Ahlers' second Open Championship following his debut in 2009.

He revealed that he hadn't given the Open much thought, but knew what he had to do on the final hole at Randpark Golf Club to earn it.

"When I stood over that putt at the last hole, I looked at the scoreboard and saw that I needed to make it to get the Open spot," Ahlers told the European Tour on Sunday.

"As a consolation, I had to make that putt and I'm glad I did and now I'm off to the Open in the UK summer."

Ahlers stated that his main goal this season is to win the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

"I've been playing well the last few months and this fourth place has helped me a lot. I would love to win the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and this gives it a big boost... so I just have to keep the ball rolling."

Ahlers is currently in third place behind Grace and Oosthuizen.

However, it is highly unlikely Grace or Oosthuizen will emerge as the winner as a player must play a minimum of six Sunshine Tour tournaments to be eligible for the title. Grace and Oosthuizen will spend the majority of the year competing on the PGA and European Tours.

This week, the Sunshine Tour will be in Eikenhof as the Eye of Africa PGA Championship kicks off on Thursday.

- Compiled by Lynn Butler