Victorian Daniel Valente flew to the Fiji International on Monday as the first reserve, taking the gamble that he would gain a start in the tri-sanctioned tournament.
It was a move that paid dividends, by the time Valente’s flight landed in Fiji he was in the field.
The spot became his after the winner of the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open elected not to take up his European Tour place.
“I was fourth alternate on Sunday night, I had a flight booked for Sunday night and on the Saturday I canned it,” said Valente.
“I felt sick on Sunday night, because a South African pulled out and if the Challenge Tour player pulled out I was going to be first or second reserve, I was damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
“On Monday morning, I was told that I was first reserve and one of the Challenge Tour guys was probably not going to play so I decided to fly over, it’s paid off obviously, so far.
“I might send Rhein Gibson a message because he pulled out too. I didn’t figure the Challenge Tour guy would come over anyway but with Rhein playing the Web.com Tour and pulling out I got in so shout out to them.”
Firing 5-under 67 in the first round, Valente is just one shot behind New Zealander Daniel Pearce who sits on top of the leaderboard.
“I played pretty solid; I had six birdies and a bogey. I teed off the 1st and birdied one, birdied three. I hit a poor tee shot on five and made bogey but other than that it was pretty routine.”
Daniel Valente tees at 8.15am in the second round of the Fiji International.
Australian golf fans can watch the Fiji International live on PGA TV via pga.org.au.
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