Humewood wind will test the pros

2008-09-16 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — As the wind whipped through the Humewood links yesterday, the field gathered for this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf may feel that Ernie Els had it easy when he won the SA Open with a record score here in 2006.

When Els holed the winning putt in the last Sunshine Tour event to grace Humewood before this, he signed for a winning score of 264. It was an Open record, surpassing Tony Johnstone’s 267 at Durban Country Club in 1993.

That was a 72-hole tournament, while the Origins event will be contested over 54 holes, and the lack of wind that week left the course exposed.

Humewood’s professional Graeme van der Nest believes it will be an entirely different scenario this week.

“The weather predictions are that it will blow a stiff westerly [today] and then turn to an easterly tomorrow. So we are expecting quite big winds — unfortunately,” Van der Nest said.

“Just to put things into perspective, during the SA Open in 2006, Ernie shot 24-under when there was no wind and the course was fairly defenceless. I think if the top professionals this week can go around here in nine under par for three rounds, that will be a fairly good score if the weather is bad.”

Adilson da Silva is the defending champion this week. He triumphed in brutal conditions at The Links at Fancourt last year, beating Warren Abery in a playoff.

George Coetzee finished third last year, and with a win in the SAA Pro-Am Invitational at a windy Paarl Golf Club a few weeks ago, he will favour his chances.

Port Elizabeth’s Titch Moore will lead the local challenge, while Jean Hugo will be out to consolidate his position at the top of the Vodacom Swing points list for the leading golfer on the six-event Vodacom Origins of Golf series.

This is the penultimate event of the series, with a R100 000 bonus awaiting the series winner.

Hugo holds first place with 191 points and two tournaments remaining. But he is only 61 points ahead of second-placed Chris Williams, and a win on the series is worth 60 points.

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