Walker Cup team–mates James Byrne and Michael Stewart head for the Sunshine

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Walker Cup team-mates James Byrne and Michael Stewart are both in the field for this week’s Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in South Africa.

They launch their bids tomorrow in Bloemfontein along with Englishman Ross McGowan, the former Madrid Masters winner who was in contention for the 2010 Ryder Cup until he suffered a wrist injury.

Byrne, who played on the Asian Tour last year and is competing in the final stage of its Qualifying School later this month, is paying his first visit to South Africa. “I’ve had a nice three weeks at home, having needed the rest, but I’m fully charged now,” tweeted the Banchory player.

Stewart, who won the South African Amateur Championship two years ago, qualified for this season’s Alps Tour just before Christmas. However, the Ayrshireman has also decided to have a crack at the Sunshine circuit in a bid to give himself as many playing opportunities as possible this year.

The event is being held at Schoeman Park and Bloemfontein Golf Clubs, with the top 30 at the end of five rounds earning cards for the Sunshine Tour. As an added reward, they will also earn full playing rights on the 2013 Big Easy Tour, a feeder circuit for the Sunshine Tour.