Toto Thimba aims to be SA Open’s first black winner

2014-06-29 15:00

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Sunshine Tour golfer Toto Thimba wants to become the country’s first black golfer to win the SA Open Championship when it tees off in November.

Arguably Mzansi’s oldest golf event – it was first staged in 1956 – the Sunshine-European tour co-sanctioned tournament is the country’s flagship event. It also paves the way for winners to participate in the British Open. It has so far not been won by a black golfer, but Thimba wants to change that.

Over the years, the glamorous South African showpiece has been dominated by the tour’s white players and overseas contestants.

Locals who have made a mark include David Frost, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Tim Clark.

But Thimba believes the time is ripe for him to break the racial trend by winning this year’s contest. Perhaps the 32-year-old player knows what he is talking about – he has been in a rich vein of form of late and he has not missed the cut in two recent events.

A fortnight ago, Thimba put up a magnificent performance at the IGT Tour’s Mafikeng Pro Am by sinking an eagle at the 18th hole to clinch the R200?000 event by one shot.

Before then, the Mamelodi-based golfer, who plays at Silver Lakes Golf Club, finished eighth at the Zambia Open in Lusaka. “This year has been particularly good for me on the course. My focus now is to make history by becoming the first black player to lift the SA Open trophy,” said a confident Thimba, who missed the cut at the Joburg Open in February. He believes lifting the SA Open silverware will open the floodgates for other black players on tour to win as well.

“I’ve struck up a great working relationship with new coach Darryl Santos, who has improved my tempo on preshot routine. I’m able to hit long, straight shots.”

Thimba will be using this week’s Sun City Challenge at Lost City Golf Course, North West, from Wednesday to Friday to fine-tune himself ahead of November.

“I’m fit and ready to give it my best shot,” he said.

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