Birdies and books: Brandon Meads earns Sunshine Tour card amid PGA studies

Birdies and books: Brandon Meads earns Sunshine Tour card amid PGA studies


PGA trainee Brandon Meads has opened up a new life chapter by earning a Sunshine Tour card.

In April, Billericay Golf-attached Meads took time out from the third year of his PGA Foundation degree course to have a second crack at the tour’s Qualifying School, staged in the Johannesburg area.

Meads, 28, said: “I’ve always wanted to play bigger levels and I went to Sunshine Tour Q School last year – that didn’t go too well. I didn’t really want to play anymore. I just wanted to do my PGA degree, finish it and start coaching. But then I had a good end last year in regional stuff, started picking up a few wins, doing well in the Order of Merit. I thought, ‘I’ll give it one more chance.’ I went back out to Q school, got rid of the nerves, felt much more comfortable and got my Sunshine Tour card.”

The Essex golfer started out at first-stage qualifying at Benoni Country Club. Initially, he found himself fighting familiar feelings.

“I was quite nervous the first two rounds,’ Meads explained. “I said to myself, ‘What are you doing? Just go and play golf,’ and I ended up finishing sixth. I sort of settled myself down in the last two rounds and just enjoyed it.”

The outcome was that he proceeded to Heron Banks Golf Estate for Final Qualifying where 20 cards were up for grabs. It proved to be a close-run, but Meads got it done in exciting style.

“I was one of the early ones out,” said Meads. “We had live scoring and there were boards out there, so I knew I had to birdie the last hole to have any chance. I stuck a 9-iron to a foot – it was the most relieved I’ve been. Then I had to wait three hours. I was sitting at 21st and then in the last half hour – because the closing holes are quite hard and pressure – people started dropping and I ended up finishing tied-17 at four-under.

“Getting a Sunshine Tour card meant the world. It’s such an established tour, a big tour, but actually getting through Q School just made me realise I should be there. After last year it was hard to sit there and say ‘You should be there’ when you’ve just shot 14-over in first-stage. You don’t think you’re good enough.

“The next step for me is to try and win something bigger. But I’m in the right company. That’s what I feel anyway.”

The rest of the year will see Meads commuting back and forth to the Sunshine Tour and mostly competing in South Africa. He has already played in one tournament – the FBC Zim Open – in Zimbabwe where he made the halfway cut.

“If I didn’t make that cut I would have struggled to get in the next few, so it’s a good start already,” said Meads. “I will get more (events) anyway, but it guarantees the next six and then there’s another re-rank.”

Whatever happens, the upcoming months are set to be a big adventure for Meads. And, of course, there’s other important business to attend to: he’s got the final stages of his PGA Foundation degree to complete. Busy times indeed for Brandon…


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