Golf can be both rewarding and devastating. That’s exactly what happened to James Hart du Preez.
Du Preez, known for his impressive driving distance, experienced a heartbreaking scoring mishap that would elicit sympathy from anyone.
Standing at 6-foot-10, the South African golfer led the Sunshine Tour in driving distance in 2022 with an average of 373 yards. He showed promise with a T-2 finish at the Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge in South Africa, which was his best result of the season and a sign of encouragement as Q school approached.
During the first two rounds of the New Mexico Q-School site, du Preez was paired with Zach Burry and David Hansen, who kept du Preez’s scorecard. Du Preez carded rounds of 71 and 74.
At the end of Round 2, Hansen handed du Preez his completed scorecard. After confirming each score hole-by-hole, du Preez signed the card and submitted it to a scoring official.
There has been plenty of heartbreak in Q-school so far but James Hart du Preez story might top the list
In the second round he signed his card and his scores were correct but he was assessed a 2-stroke penalty 3 hours after leaving the course.
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) October 22, 2023
According to du Preez, the scoring official verified the presence of two signatures on his playing partners’ cards, but he couldn’t recall the official confirming two signatures on his own card.
Three hours later, the head rules official at the New Mexico site called du Preez and informed him that Hansen had failed to sign his card. As a result, du Preez was given a two-stroke penalty to be applied to the first hole of Round Three.
“I have played over 300 professional events all over the world,” said du Preez. “I have never seen this happen.”
The next morning, du Preez began Round Three with a double bogey on the challenging 10th hole. This penalty, along with the additional strokes, resulted in a quadruple-bogey 8.
However, du Preez showed resilience throughout the remainder of the round, carding four birdies and an eagle to finish 6-under par for the next 17 holes. This impressive performance gave him a slim chance to advance. In the final round, he started with back-to-back bogeys but fought back to shoot a 68, ending the four-round event at 2-under par.
Unfortunately, he needed to be 3-under par to move on to the next stage. The two-stroke penalty for his playing partner’s scoring error ultimately cost du Preez his opportunity to advance.
Getting through Q-School is already challenging, but to lose due to an honest mistake and someone else’s oversight is incredibly frustrating. Although Hansen apologized to du Preez, it might not be enough to make up for the consequences.
Daniel Miller takes readers to the greens with his passion for golf. He offers coverage of major golf tournaments, player achievements, and insights into the sport’s rich history, making him a trusted source for golf enthusiasts.