SA's Bekker ready for his Major debut

Oliver Bekker (Gallo Images)
Oliver Bekker (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Making his debut among the world's best golfers in the second Major of the year will be Oliver Bekker.

Bekker, 32, is a six-time Sunshine Tour winner and is about to play in the biggest tournament of his life when he tees off at the 117th US Open at Erin Hills on Thursday.

READ: 8 golfers to fly the SA flag at US Open

The Pretoria-born golfer was one of the four South Africans who played their way into the US Open field after qualifying at the US Open Sectional Qualifiers at Walton Heath last month.

Bekker was the best finisher of those four South Africans, ending in a tie for fifth to seal one of the 15 spots available.

"I'm very excited about playing in the US Open. Everything is bigger over here. The crowds are huge, and noisy, so it's different to playing in Europe or South Africa," Bekker told Sport24.

He is in the form of his life.

In his past five starts, Bekker has four top-5 finishes, including two wins in the Sunshine Tour's Zambia Sugar Open and Lombard Insurance Classic.

Bekker sees this as a positive as he prepares to tee off alongside Australia's Wade Ormsby and American Kyle Thompson in Round 1 (19:30 SA time).

"I'm probably playing some of the best golf of my career at the moment, so I think that's very fortunate for me going into this week," said Bekker.

"I think the first goal is to make the cut, but the way things have been going for me lately I wouldn't take anything off the table!"

Englishman Lee Nightingale will be on the bag for the South African and while Bekker admits that although he does not know much about Erin Hills, he has to be on top of his game.

"I don't know much about the course... The greens look pretty small, with plenty of run offs. To do well you will need to be on top of every aspect of your game," said Bekker.

"I think I will need to keep it in play from the tee from there I can give myself a chance to score. Wayward tee shots will definitely be punished this week and putting is always crucial at a US Open."

Despite not having a European Tour card, Bekker doesn't think he is at an disadvantage compared to his more experienced countrymen, including Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

"I think everyone is a little nervous when standing on the first tee of a major championship. It's how you deal with those nerves that makes the difference," said Bekker.

Even though all eyes will be on him to fly the South African flag high, Bekker is looking to enjoy himself.

"I am just looking forward to the opportunity to play and to have as much fun as possible," he said.

"That's all I've been doing the last few weeks, and it's been working for me."

With a stellar field that consists of the world's best golfers, who would Bekker love to meet?

"If Jack Nicklaus is at the tournament, spectating, I would like to meet him."

Good luck Oliver!

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