Sunshine Tour

Groenewald set for tough defence at Arabella

Vaughn Groenewald (Gallo Images)
Vaughn Groenewald (Gallo Images)

Kleinmond - The Sunshine Tour returns to Arabella Hotel and Spa this week for the Origins of Golf event which was won by Vaughn Groenewald last year with a nine-under-par 207 score to defeat Stefan Engell Andersen by a single stroke.

This week's event is the second in a six-tournament series and a title-defence is not going to be a walk in the park for Groenewald.

With many players getting back into the swing of things after the seven-week break in June and July, every field from now on becomes a more difficult challenge to overcome.

A host of players are regaining form and this was evident in the last two events when Doug McGuigan held on to claim the VOG Highland Gate event, while Peter Karmis' play-off victory against Jake Roos also highlighted the unpredictability of these events.

So players like Neil Schietekat, Riekus Nortje and Jacques Kruyswijk must not be overlooked this week.

Kruyswijk, in particular, has been putting together some solid rounds of golf only to be disappointed by a few costly errors when it matters most.

Nortje, too, has been on a high since his victory in Zambia and has found himself in contention a few more times after that.

Add to those players the rookies who have been on the rise since they got their playing cards at Qualifying School, and the field looks even more interesting.

American Zack Byrd is the highest on the Order of Merit while Danie van Niekerk, Herman Loubser and Luke Jerling have been some of the most consistent thus far, and therefore should be watched closely as they all look as if they could win this season.

Also worth a look will be members of the Gary Player Class of 2017/18 Jacquin Hess, Musiwalo Nethunzwi and James Kamte.

Despite falling away in the last few rounds of recent tournaments, Kamte's form has been getting back together while Hess has been the most consistent performer from that squad in the last two events.

Nethunzwi tasted victory on the Big Easy Tour and will want to translate that into a win on the main tour.

The tournament tees off on Thursday.

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