Jan. 31, 2013
University of Minnesota senior Erik Van Rooyen will have to wait until his final collegiate season is over in June to officially use the title of professional golfer, but it's a title that will soon become a reality. The native of South Africa finished in a tie for 11th place at the 2013 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School with a five-round card of 14-under par to earn his Sunshine Tour card.
Van Rooyen played in the event as an amateur and will have the opportunity to participate on the Sunshine Tour following the completion of the 2013 Golden Gopher schedule. A two-time NCAA Regional individual qualifier, Van Rooyen will try and lead the Gophers to NCAA play for the first time since the 2009 season.
The Sunshine Tour, formerly known as the South African Tour, is one of the six leading men's tours which make up the International Federation of PGA Tours - the PGA Tour, The European PGA Tour, The Japan Golf Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, and the Asian Tour.
The Sunshine Tour currently co-sanctions four tournaments with the European Tour, these being the Africa Open, The Alfred Dunhill Championship, the Joburg Open, and the South African Open, the second-oldest championship in golf. This serves as the launch of the European Tour each season.
Van Rooyen leads the Gophers with a 73.53 stroke average and heads into the upcoming spring schedule with a career stroke average of 73.63, the ninth-lowest career average in the history of the program. The senior has a pair of top-5 finishes this season, including a runner-up finish at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate in September. Van Rooyen was awarded his first Big Ten Conference Player of the Week award as a result of the finish.
Minnesota will begin the spring portion of its schedule on Feb. 8-9 in the annual Big Ten Matchplay in Bradenton, Fla. The Gophers finished second in last year’s event, losing to Northwestern in the championship match.
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Check up on Gophers in summer tournaments, the State Fair and next year's Big Ten Championships.
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Charlie Duensing and Peter Jones excelled in stroke play, and William Leaf made it to the championship match.