02 June 17:18
Otto wins SunBet Challenge in playoff
With his putter finally starting to fire, Hennie Otto began the final round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun City with a birdie and just continued in that vein before making par at the first playoff hole to win the title at Gary Player Country Club on Friday.
Otto began the third and final day three shots off the lead, and apart from his three at the par-four first hole, he enjoyed the ideal start to his pursuit of his 14th Sunshine Tour title by collecting four more birdies between the sixth and 10th holes.
A veteran campaigner like Otto was not going to be overawed by the occasion either, as a trio of other contenders – Hayden Griffiths, Jovan Rebula and Martin Rohwer – also jostled fiercely for the top spot.
On a windy day on one of the toughest courses in South Africa, Otto came home in one-under 35, for a final round of 67, thanks to another birdie on the par-five 14th. A bogey on the par-three 16th was his only blemish, but the 46-year-old Otto showed the stuff of champions as he parred the testing last two holes to finish on six-under-par for the tournament, joining Griffiths in a playoff.
The 29-year-old Griffiths had shot a tremendous 66, also with just one bogey, to join Otto in the playoff, a clutch birdie on the par-three 16th sealing his place.
Unfortunately, Griffiths hit his drive on the first playoff hole, the famous ninth at Gary Player Country Club with its island green, way left into the bushes and had to hack out.
With Otto just off the fairway on the right, the Johannesburg-based Griffiths had to go for the green with his third, pulled it left and landed in the water.
That left Otto with the routine task of laying up, finding the green and two-putting for the win.
“My game has been so good lately but my scores have not shown it because my putting has not been up to standard,” Otto said after his second victory on the Gary Player Country Club course following his victory there in the 2011 Dimension Data Pro-Am.
“But today my putter started showing what it can do. Because I’ve been playing so well, I knew another win was close. On this course, in all the years I’ve played here, it’s all about hitting the fairway and making sure you don’t hit your ball in the wrong place. But it was even tougher today because of the wind and in the cold morning, your ball doesn’t travel so far.
“On 16, I had no real shot from the bunker and then I just had to make sure I made a four. And then it was just about making sure I parred 17 and 18. I actually nearly birdied the last hole, but my putt just lipped out.
“And then the playoff hole just became a formality after Hayden unfortunately hit his approach into the water,” Otto said.
Rohwer and Rebula both finished one shot behind on five-under-par and both showed excellent technical expertise on one of the most challenging courses in the world, before succumbing to late errors that proved very costly.
Rohwer was on eight-under-par and leading by two after he birdied the par-five 14th hole, but then dropped a shot at the 15th and then double-bogeyed the par-four 17th, finishing with a 67 that was not quite enough.
Rebula had reached seven-under through 13 holes, but then bogeys on the 15th and 18th holes left him with a 70 and saw him fall just short of the playoff.
Keelan van Wyk, who led after the first two rounds of the three-round tournament, unfortunately, saw his game suffer a meltdown on Friday as he posted an 80 to finish on four-over-par, in a tie for 33rd place.
SCORES: (* won in playoff)
210 - Hayden Griffiths 73 71 66, Hennie Otto 71 72 67*
211 - Martin Rohwer 72 72 67, Jovan Rebula 72 69 70
213 - Jean-Paul Strydom 71 73 69, Jonathan Broomhead 72 70 71
214 - Christiaan Basson 73 72 69, Luca Filippi 73 73 68, Kyle Barker 70 72 72
215 - Dan Erickson 72 73 70, Darren Fichardt 73 70 72, Neil Schietekat 75 72 68, Toto Thimba Jnr 69 72 74
216 - MJ Viljoen 72 74 70, Ruan Korb 72 71 73, Michael Hollick 72 70 74, Jean Hugo 71 76 69, Matthew Spacey 69 72 75
217 - Ryan Van Velzen 73 72 72, David Wicks 72 73 72, Louis Albertse 72 73 72, Fredrik From 70 71 76
218 - Ulrich van den Berg 73 73 72, Jaco Ahlers 71 73 74, CJ du Plessis 73 71 74, Heinrich Bruiners 74 73 71
219 - Estiaan Conradie 72 73 74, Hunter Epson 74 71 74, Rourke van der Spuy 72 73 74, Herman Loubser 72 71 76, Marcel Steyn Scholtz 75 72 72, Rhys West 72 75 72
220 - Jason Smith 69 77 74, Hennie O'Kennedy 73 71 76, Wynand Dingle 74 72 74, Keelan van Wyk 67 73 80
221 - Michael Kok 73 73 75, Robin Williams 69 74 78, Keagan Thomas 76 71 74, Sean Bradley 73 70 78, Keelan Africa 73 74 74
222 - DK Kim 72 75 75
223 - Doug McGuigan 73 73 77, Stefan Wears-Taylor 78 69 76
224 - Quintin Wilsnach 75 71 78, Peter Karmis 71 76 77
225 - Richard Joubert 72 74 79
226 - Ruan de Smidt 73 74 79
227 - Lyle Rowe 72 75 80
231 - Musiwalo Nethunzwi 71 74 86
- Michael Vlismas
01 June 19:10
Keelan holds on to lead in SunBet Challenge
Keelan van Wyk made a few silly mistakes on the front nine at Gary Player Country Club on Thursday and paid the price, but the CMR Golf Club representative can feel immensely proud of the way he bounced back to retain the lead after the second round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun City.
Despite going out in four-over-par 40, Van Wyk showed his temperament by rectifying most of the damage with four birdies and just a single bogey on the back nine, to sign for 73.
The going was so tough at the Gary Player Country Club on Thursday, however, that his one-over-par score was still enough for him to hang on to the lead.
The 24-year-old will go into Saturday’s final round on four-under overall, one stroke ahead of Toto Thimba Jnr (72), Fredrik From (71), Jovan Rebula (69) and Matthew Spacey (72).
Van Wyk birdied the par-four first hole on Thursday, but that was followed by three successive bogeys. A double-bogey seven at the ninth then would have been enough, to paraphrase the words of the classic Boomtown Rats song I Don’t Like Mondays, to switch the silicon chip inside his head to overload were it not for Van Wyk’s impressive composure.
He rebounded with birdies on the 10th and 11th holes, and was on his way back to the top of the leaderboard.
“I made a few mistakes on the front nine and it was just a very intense round of golf. I battled off the tee and on the ninth I went way left and lost my ball, leading to the double-bogey,” Van Wyk explained.
“But I just told myself that I had now hit my low and I could not go any lower. I just channelled my thoughts and my focus on spiralling back up again. I just tried to take it shot-for-shot and stay in the moment.
“My caddy Lloyd also helped a lot, he was quite composed. We were chatting about how the golf course is so difficult, it feels like if you make one mistake then you’re going to drop back a few places, but every player will make mistakes. You can see that from the scores,” Van Wyk said.
Adding to the typically testing set-up of the Gary Player Country Club, there was a swirling wind on Thursday that would con the golfers into thinking it was going one way, but then switch directions on the same hole.
“The course was tough and the wind was swirling as well. It was just never in one direction,” Van Wyk said.
Rebula led the charge of the domestic golfers on Thursday with a brilliant three-under 69 that included just one dropped shot, on the par-four 17th.
Spacey started his round on the 10th and made two birdies in his first four holes to claim the lead. But a bogey on the 15th and another one on the seventh hole saw him slip back, while Thimba Jnr survived three successive bogeys from the eighth hole to still post a level-par 72 and remain strongly in contention.
Sweden’s From was the leading overseas golfer, mixing six birdies with five bogeys in his round.
Three more South Africans, Jonathan Broomhead (70), Michael Hollick (70) and Kyle Barker (72) are two strokes back on two-under-par.
140 - Keelan van Wyk 67 73
141 - Toto Thimba Jnr 69 72, Fredrik From 70 71, Jovan Rebula 72 69, Matthew Spacey 69 72
142 - Jonathan Broomhead 72 70, Michael Hollick 72 70, Kyle Barker 70 72
143 - Sean Bradley 73 70, Hennie Otto 71 72, Robin Williams 69 74, Ruan Korb 72 71, Herman Loubser 72 71, Darren Fichardt 73 70
144 - CJ du Plessis 73 71, Jean-Paul Strydom 71 73, Hennie O'Kennedy 73 71, Hayden Griffiths 73 71, Martin Rohwer 72 72, Jaco Ahlers 71 73
145 - Louis Albertse 72 73, David Wicks 72 73, Rourke van der Spuy 72 73, Ryan Van Velzen 73 72, Estiaan Conradie 72 73, Dan Erickson 72 73, Hunter Epson 74 71, Christiaan Basson 73 72, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 71 74
146 - Ulrich van den Berg 73 73, Jason Smith 69 77, Luca Filippi 73 73, Richard Joubert 72 74, MJ Viljoen 72 74, Michael Kok 73 73, Doug McGuigan 73 73, Wynand Dingle 74 72, Quintin Wilsnach 75 71
147 - DK Kim 72 75, Marcel Steyn Scholtz 75 72, Heinrich Bruiners 74 73, Lyle Rowe 72 75, Neil Schietekat 75 72, Keagan Thomas 76 71, Jean Hugo 71 76, Ruan de Smidt 73 74, Rhys West 72 75, Stefan Wears-Taylor 78 69, Peter Karmis 71 76, Keelan Africa 73 74
- Michael Vlismas
31 May 18:52
Back nine charge puts Keelan in front at SunBet Challenge
Keelan van Wyk did not think he would be able to conquer the back nine at the Gary Player Country Club as comfortably as he did, but his marvellous five-under-par 67 set him up for pride of place on the leaderboard after the first round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun City on Wednesday.
Although Van Wyk is just 24 years old and in only his third season on the Sunshine Tour, he is very familiar with the famous Gary Player Country Club layout and aware of all the challenges it poses. But starting his round on the 10th tee, he birdied the 12th, 14th, 16th and 18th holes to go to the turn already four-under-par.
After collecting two more birdies on the front nine, he made his only bogey of the day on the ninth, his last hole, but his 67 was still his best round of the season thus far.
“My family comes to Sun City quite a lot on holiday, so I’ve played a few rounds here and I feel quite comfortable, although I haven’t had that many good scores. Usually the back nine is the tougher nine for the way I like to play, so to be four-under at the turn was certainly better than I projected,” Van Wyk said.
“But I’ve definitely put a lot of hard work into my game lately and I have been playing quite well, but just not scoring. But today I had my iron-play under control, I birdied three of the par-threes, and I managed to roll some putts in.
“My plan was to give myself lots of chances for birdies, I took a few of them and I am very, very pleased with my round,” Van Wyk said.
The Riverlea resident’s only real mistake came on the ninth when he caught a flyer out of the rough and went 35 feet over the pin. He left his first putt short and missed his second as well, ending an otherwise fine round with a bogey.
But it was not a day for cruising at the Gary Player Country Club on Wednesday, overcast, cool weather making the course even longer and the usual premium on precise golf being in play.
Four golfers – Robin Williams, Matthew Spacey, Toto Thimba Jnr and Jason Smith – were sharing second place two strokes behind on three-under-par, and only 16 golfers finished under-par on the opening day.
67 - Keelan van Wyk
69 - Robin Williams, Matthew Spacey, Toto Thimba Jnr, Jason Smith
70 - Kyle Barker, Fredrik From, Merrick Bremner
71 - Brandon Smith, Jaco Ahlers, Peter Karmis, Steve Surry, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Hennie Otto, Jean Hugo, Jean-Paul Strydom
72 - Michael Hollick, Rhys West, Estiaan Conradie, Martin Rohwer, Ruan Korb, Dan Erickson, Herman Loubser, DK Kim, James Mack, Jovan Rebula, Rupert Kaminski, Lyle Rowe, Louis Albertse, MJ Viljoen, Erhard Lambrechts, Richard Joubert, Rourke van der Spuy, David Wicks, Jonathan Broomhead
73 - Ruan de Smidt, Doug McGuigan, Ryan Van Velzen, Darren Fichardt, Christiaan Basson, Keelan Africa, Allister de Kock, Ulrich van den Berg, CJ du Plessis, Sean Bradley, Jacques Blaauw, Luca Filippi, Hennie O'Kennedy, Michael Kok, Hayden Griffiths
74 - Aneurin Gounden, Lindani Ndwandwe, Christiaan Burke, Jacques P de Villiers, Wynand Dingle, Hunter Epson, Sentanio Minnie, Jastice Mashego, Leon Visser, Malcolm Mitchell, Heinrich Bruiners, Jaco Van Zyl
75 - Callum Mowat, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Yurav Premlall, Quintin Wilsnach, Gerhard Pepler, Tyron Davidowitz, Marcel Steyn Scholtz, Neil Schietekat, Robson Chinhoi, Nikhil Rama
76 - Jake Redman, Tristin Galant, Adam Breen, Dylan Naidoo, Keagan Thomas, Luke Brown, Nicholaus Frade
77 - Irvin Mazibuko, Clancy Waugh, Danie Van Niekerk, Kyle McClatchie, Reinhardt Blaauw, Wade Jacobs, Stuart Krog
78 - Gerard du Plooy, Jack Hawksby, Madalitso Muthiya, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Franklin Manchest, Gerhard Trytsman, Jared Harvey, Siyanda Mwandla, Thabang Simon
79 - Slenda Sithebe
80 - Riekus Nortje, Alex Haindl, Gerard Moodley, Makhetha Mazibuko
81 - Adriel Poonan, Ricky Hendler, Omar Sandys, Alphius Kelapile, Drikus Joubert
82 - Chris Cannon, Gregory Mckay, Vaughn van Deventer, Combrinck Smit
- Michael Vlismas
28 May 18:33
Composed Albertse wins in style
Louis Albertse was all smiles after winning the Kit Kat Cash and Carry Pro-Am and R320 000 at Irene Country Club on Sunday, but he said even though he triumphed by a comfortable four strokes it felt like he had been climbing mountains all day.
Albertse finished in style by sinking a 30ft putt for birdie on the 18th hole, completing an impressive four-under 68 in the final round, and a total of 23-under-par for the R2 million event, well clear of Kyle Barker in second place on 19-under.
But both playing partner Malcolm Mitchell and Barker had put Albertse under pressure through the final day.
Mitchell was four-under-par through the front nine as he closed to within two strokes, but then a horror run from the 12th hole saw him drop four strokes in three holes, including a double-bogey on the par-three 13th hole, when his tee-shot hit a tree and he then three-putted.
Barker produced excellent golf on the last day in a bogey-free 67, which could have been even better and would have put Albertse under even more pressure had a couple of late birdie putts not missed the hole by an inch or two.
Nevertheless, Albertse was not to be swayed on Sunday. He made a pair of crucial birdies around the turn and then played solid, error-free golf to par his way to the last hole.
"It's always really hard to win, it never gets easier. Everyone here is extremely talented and the pressure can get to you; 18 holes is a long time," the representative of Dundee Golf Club, in the foothills of the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, said after his second Sunshine Tour victory.
"Malcolm Mitchell played extremely well out of the blocks and that motivated me because I knew if I make mistakes then he will overtake me. I just tried to stay in it, focus on my own game as much as I could.
"The birdies at nine and 10 were crucial, with Malcolm missing a birdie putt at 10. I hit some good shots around the turn and I just tried to play good shot after good shot," Albertse said.
Far from being insipid golf, Albertse’s run of pars from the 11th hole was a calculated strategy by the 26-year-old to eliminate risk, on a course he loves, having finished third in the same event last year.
"Having a good lead is nice because it means you can hit conservative shots, especially on holes 14 to 16. It also showed on my choice of club off the 18th tee when I hit a five-iron.
"I scored my first nine-under here at Irene, back in my amateur days. I just really enjoy the course and coming back here, I feel comfortable here," Albertse said.
Sean Cronje, the 22-year-old from Durbanville, hit the big time on Sunday as his phenomenal eight-under 64 lifted him into third place on 17-under-par, his first top-10 finish on the Sunshine Tour.
Mitchell finished with a 71 to share fourth place on 16-under with Wynand Dingle (67). - Michael Vlismas
27 May 21:15
Albertse chasing victory at Irene Country Club
Although Louis Albertse’s five-under-par 67 was not faultless golf, the 26-year-old showed perfect composure as he maintained his four-shot lead after the third and penultimate round of the Kit Kat Cash and Carry Pro-Am at Irene Country Club on Saturday.
Albertse will go into Sunday’s final round with a brilliant score of 19-under-par, following rounds of 66-64-67, a very handy lead with half-a-dozen golfers within six shots of him. Albertse took a while to get going on Saturday and a bogey on the par-four fifth hole left him one-over for the round. But birdies on the sixth and eighth holes brought some momentum, and he then produced a brilliant back nine of four-under 32.
The Dundee Golf Club representative made some mistakes coming in, but showed a tremendous ability to recover quickly from his mistakes. Twice he made birdies after poor shots left him out of position, courtesy of a wonderful wedge on the par-five 10thand a phenomenal 45ft putt across the green on the par-three 16th.
“I had a bit of nerves at the start, I’m not going to lie, and I didn’t hit good drives on the first two holes,” Albertse said.
“I was glad I got through those with birdies on six and eight, and then birdies on 10 and 11 made me feel even better. That settled me and I had a good round going.
“I just tried to stay composed. Acceptance in this game plays a really big part in success and the quicker you can accept mistakes, the easier it is. I just tried to forget about the previous shot.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of nerves in the final round and things might feel different. But that’s why we practise all these years, to be in this position. I’m just going to try and enjoy it as much as I can, and at 19-under-par there’s no reason to change anything in my game,” Albertse said.
Although the man who enjoyed seven top-10 finishes last season will be the favourite to win the R320 000 first prize on Sunday, it is by no means a done deal with several other golfers playing marvellous golf on Saturday to put themselves in the picture. Malcolm Mitchell produced a magnificent back nine of 31 as his 66 lifted him into second place on 15-under. The lanky KwaZulu-Natalian chipped in for eagle on the 10th hole and finished his round with three consecutive birdies.
Kyle Barker also chipped in from off the green for an eagle on the par-four 15th and then finished birdie-birdie to post a 68 that left him in third place on 14-under. A resurgent Trevor Fisher Jnr is on 13-under after cruising to a 66, alongside youngsters Jovan Rebula (68) and Adam Breen (64).
- Michael Vlismas
26 May 18:44
Albertse topping leaderboard in KitKat Pro-Am
Being newly married and coming off his most successful season yet may have added some extra load onto the broad shoulders of Louis Albertse, but the 26-year-old played with great freedom on Friday as he posted a tremendous eight-under-par 64 to claim a four-shot lead after the second round of the KitKat Cash & Carry Pro-Am at the Irene Country Club.
Claiming eight birdies and an eagle on the 112-year-old parkland course, Albertse will go into the weekend on 14-under-par, with his nearest challengers being Kyle Barker (64), Wynand Dingle (69) and Yurav Premlall (65) on 10-under.
Having been tied for third after his 66 in the first round, Albertse started on the 10th hole and took a while to find the same success on Friday and was just one-under after his first seven holes.
But the Dundee Golf Club representative broke the shackles around the turn, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie from the 17th hole to snatch the lead.
A bogey on the par-three fourth did little to break the momentum as he finished strongly with three more birdies in the last five holes.
Albertse, who finished a career-best 17th in the 2022/23 The Courier Guy Order of Merit with seven top-10 finishes, made his eagle on the 368m par-four first hole when he unleashed a fabulous drive that finished just short of the green and he was able to putt the ball into the hole for a two.
"There's probably a little bit more added pressure when you’re coming off your best season and last week in Zambia wasn't great, maybe because I was rusty after taking two weeks off to get married," Albertse said.
"But I know I'm playing nicely and it's just about trusting the process. It’s nice to see scores coming in though and luckily it all turned out in may favour today.
"I have a game-plan before the tournament which I try and follow, but some days are just better than others and you feel able to be more aggressive and it just works out.
"I gave myself quite a few opportunities today and just tried to be patient from the start. Having a birdie-bogey start wasn't great, but after that things started to fall into place and I had an amazing stretch through the turn when I really hit second gear.
"It doesn't happen often, but even then, you just try and stay patient, although you take those runs with open arms. And it was an amazing drive on the first," Albertse smiled.
Barker is another who has carried over his form from last season, when he broke through by finishing 22nd on the order of merit and won the Stella Artois Players' Championship at Dainfern Country Club.
The 25-year-old, who moved over to Titleist in the off-season, started his round with a birdie on the par-five 10th.
But he could only pick up more shots on the last two holes of the back nine, before coming home in style with four birdies in his last five holes to claim the lead before being overtaken by Albertse.
"It was a fantastic morning out there, I drove the ball very nicely and hit most of my targets. My wedges were pretty decent and I putted really well - my putts were in the low 20s," Barker said.
Rookie Premlall was also highly-impressive with his 65. The 19-year-old finished his front nine with three birdies and an eagle, and then came home with birdies on the par-three 16th and par-five 17th holes.
- Michael Vlismas
21 May 19:57
Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi has won a couple of times on the Safari Tour, but on Sunday he clinched his first title of global significance when he won the Zanaco Masters at Lusaka Golf Club in a playoff over Neil Schietekat, in just his 11th Sunshine Tour start.
Chinhoi, who began the day two shots off the lead, put himself in contention by collecting two birdies in a bogey-free front nine, and then claimed the lead with three more birdies on the back nine, before a pulled drive saw him bogey the 17th and then only make par on the par-five final hole, leaving him with a 68 for 17-under-par for the tournament.
That was enough to get him into a playoff though, with Schietekat, the winner of the previous event on the Sunshine Tour, the FBC Zimbabwe Open a fortnight ago.
Schietekat was six-under for his final round through 13 holes, roaring up the leaderboard, but he then made a crucial bogey on the par-four 14th hole and then could only par his way in to the clubhouse.
The pair played the 515-metre 18th hole again in the playoff and the 32-year-old Chinhoi produced an excellent tee-shot that left him 207 metres from the green.
From there he hit a seven-iron short of the green, made sure he left his chip below the hole on the hard green, and calmly slotted a five-foot putt for birdie to claim the title, as the experienced Schietekat could only make par.
“I am just so grateful, I thank God, for this victory because it puts my name on the map,” a delighted Chinhoi said.
“This win will be life and game-changing for me. I was getting tired of being in my comfort zone, I wanted to go away and play at another level. I managed to lift my game and this week has changed everything.
”While Chinhoi was superb off the tee on Sunday, he putted with computer-like accuracy under the pressure of the final round and a large crowd of contenders.
Young Ryan van Velzen birdied the 18th hole to finish with the clubhouse lead on 16-under and then faced an anxious wait, but Chinhoi and Schietekat did not drop any further strokes, leaving the 21-year-old alone in third place.
Stefan Wears-Taylor was also in contention but then bogeyed the last to post a 69 that left him on 15-under, a score matched by Sean Bradley, who had reached 16-under by the 10th hole, but then had seven straight pars and a bogey to finish.
Rupert Kaminski (65) and Trevor Fisher Jnr (66) were the other golfers to share fourth place on 15-under-par. - Michael Vlismas
SCORES:(* won in playoff)
-17 - *Robson Chinhoi
-17 - Neil Schietekat
-16 - Ryan Van Velzen
-15 - Rupert Kaminski, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Sean Bradley
-13 - Robin Williams, Martin Rohwer
-12 - Nikhil Rama, Malcolm Mitchell, David Wicks
-11 - Keegan Mclachlan, Hennie O'Kennedy
-10 - Christiaan Basson, Yurav Premlall, Peter Karmis, Jake Redman, Siyanda Mwandla
-9 - Tristin Galant, Nyasha Muyambo, Kyle Barker, Gerhard Pepler, Gerhard Trytsman
-8 - Lyle Rowe, Doug McGuigan, Christiaan Burke, Chris Cannon, Jaco Ahlers, Jacques Blaauw, Hennie Otto
-7 - James Mack, Herman Loubser
-6 - Sydney Joseph Wemba, Ruan Conradie
-5 - Luke Trocado, Danie Van Niekerk, DK Kim
-4 - Ricky Hendler, Rhys West, Kyle McClatchie
-3 - Conner Mackenzie, Heinrich Bruiners
-2 - Nicholaus Frade
-1 - Hayden Griffiths, Keelan van Wyk, Ben Firth, Jovan Rebula, Stuart Krog
Par - Drikus Joubert, Tyron Davidowitz
+1 - Wynand Dingle, Luke Jerling
+2 - Albert Venter, Steve Surry, Callum Mowat, Paul Boshoff
+3 - Vaughn van Deventer
+4 - Gregory Mckay
+5 - Aneurin Gounden, Keagan Thomas
+6 - Willie Olivier
20 May 18:27
David Wicks, who almost gave up pro golf, now the man to beat in Zanaco Masters
Sunshine Tour rookie David Wicks fired a bogey-free five-under-par 67 on Saturday for a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Zanaco Masters at Lusaka Golf Club.
Even though a victory would make a world of difference for the Englishman’s career, he said winning is not that important for him on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Wicks previously competed on the EuroPro Tour, but last year decided to give up his professional career, before his management agency suggested he try the Sunshine Tour.
Coming to Southern Africa has been a game-changer for Wicks, as he finished sixth in Q-School and then enjoyed his best performance as a professional in finishing in a tie for 15thin the season-opening FBC Zimbabwe Open a fortnight ago.
A congested leaderboard now stands between him and a remarkable maiden victory, with at least a dozen golfers in with a shout for the title.
While Wicks is on 15-under-par, Sean Bradley (-14), Robson Chinhoi (-13) and Stefan Wears-Taylor (-12) are leading the chasing pack.
Gerhard Trytsman and the in-form Neil Schietekat are on 11-under, while six golfers are on 10-under, including seasoned champion Hennie Otto and previous Tour winners in Jake Redman, Ryan van Velzen and Martin Rohwer.
“I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the nerves and emotions in the final round, but I am in a really happy spot at the moment and a happy golfer is tough to beat,” Wicks said.
“It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, as long as I stick to my process and keep smiling. If I do that, then it doesn’t matter to me if I win the tournament of not. I will still look back on the week as a success, because I’m confident that if I stick to my process then it will yield a win at some stage.
“It’s about building a foundation and winning for me is really irrelevant, it’s about sticking to my process, having fun, enjoying what I’m doing. And then I will add up my score at the end and see where I stand,” Wicks said.
While the likes of Bradley, who followed up his 64 in the second round with a 69 on Saturday that included two eagles and four birdies, Chinhoi (70, four birdies) and Wears-Taylor (71, five birdies) produced some scintillating play, Wicks showed there is sometimes no replacement for good, old-fashioned error-free golf.
“Going bogey-free was very important for me, both mentally and for my score. When other people are making lots of birdies and eagles, dropping even one shot can feel like a double-bogey,” Wicks said.
“Fortunately I did not make any silly mistakes to drop back, while amidst all the birdies on the rest of the leaderboard there were lots of bogeys and doubles too.
“My plan was to first and foremost make par and then go for birdie,” Wicks said.
It sounds like the sort of plan which could yield a life-changing victory on Sunday.
201 - David Wicks 65 69 67
202 - Sean Bradley 69 64 69
203 - Robson Chinhoi 66 67 70
204 - Stefan Wears-Taylor 67 66 71
205 - Gerhard Trytsman 70 67 68, Neil Schietekat 65 69 71
206 - Hennie Otto 68 70 68, Siyanda Mwandla 72 66 68, Ryan Van Velzen 67 70 69, Martin Rohwer 72 64 70, Jake Redman 67 69 70, Malcolm Mitchell 70 65 71
19 May 19:21
Trio chasing Zanaco Masters glory
Stefan Wears-Taylor now really feels he belongs as one of the main contenders on the Sunshine Tour after his 2022/23 campaign, his fourth season in the professional ranks, was his most successful yet, so it was fitting that he says his mindset was his strongest attribute as he soared to the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Zanaco Masters at the Lusaka Golf Club on Friday.
Wears-Taylor backed up his 67 on the first day with a fantastic six-under-par 66 on Friday, which lifted him to 11-under-par at the midway point of the tournament. The Centurion Country Club representative collected eight birdies in all, four of them in a row from the 15th hole as he ended his opening nine in spectacular fashion.
He is not alone on 11-under-par, however, with Sean Bradley and Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi sharing the lead with him. Bradley managed to fit in seven birdies and an eagle in his superb 64, while Chinhoi collected four birdies on the front nine in his 67. Wears-Taylor finished 24th on the order of merit last season and claimed his first Sunshine Tour title in the MediClinic Invitational on his home course in March. He then made a solid start to the new season by finishing 17th in the FBC Zimbabwe Open. Friday’s round at a sunny Lusaka Golf Club was a continuation of that form.
“My attitude on the first two days is what I’m most proud of. I started the first round with a few errant shots to the left, which is unusual for me,” Wears-Taylor explained.
“But I’ve just stayed patient and enjoyed my day out on the course, enjoying where I’m walking and there are some huge trees here which are fascinating.
“I’ve just been staying positive because this golf course is going to bite you if you make mistakes. I started on the 10th and I had a productive morning, slowly building momentum until I had the wind in my sails and then some putts fell in the last few holes and I hit a very nice Sand-Wedge to three feet on the 17th.
“Things slowed down a little after the turn, unfortunately I made some soft mistakes, but that will happen on this tough course. There are tight tee shots on both nines and visually, you have overhanging trees which makes it complicated for the eye. And it’s definitely simpler hitting from the fairways because the greens are tough with firm bounces if you don’t get spin.
“But I’ve built up experience over the last couple of years. It takes time to find your feet on tour, especially because I didn’t have any real amateur background.
“It’s taken time to get to where I am, but I am seeing steady growth and learning more about myself both as a player and a person. I’m really enjoying the journey and hopefully it leads to a long and fruitful career,” Wears-Taylor said.
First-round leaders Neil Schietekat and David Wicks are still strongly placed just one shot off the leaders after they both shot three-under 69s on Friday, and Trevor Fisher Jnr (67) and Malcolm Mitchell (65) are a stroke further back.
- Michael Vlismas
08 May 07:40
Schietekat back in winner's circle
Neil Schietekat won the Zimbabwe Open by four strokes at Royal Harare Golf Club on Sunday, his successful foray to South Africa's northern neighbour bringing him his first Sunshine Tour title since 2018 and an ideal start to his season before he heads off even further north to play in Asia.
The experienced Schietekat had started the final round with a seven-stroke lead following his brilliant 66 on the third day, and although he did not pull any further away from the chasing pack, his final-round 75 was still good enough for him to win comfortably on 11-under-par.
Most importantly, he played the front nine under-par, birdies on the second, third and fifth holes offsetting dropped shots on the first two par-fours - the first and the fourth holes. Schietekat reached the turn with an eight-shot lead, which he needed because the tough back nine caused him problems.
“I’m really happy that I managed to pull through because today was a much tougher day for me. I haven’t won before with such a big lead, so I didn’t really know how to go about things. I wasn’t trying to play safe, but there were some shots I did not commit to and some shots I did really go for.
“I had some unlucky breaks out of the rough, but that’s been the same for everybody this week. But I made a couple of really good saves and par-putts.
“I was bleeding on the back nine, starting on 10 where I hit a good shot off the tee but it just rolled into the water and I made double-bogey. But I made some clutch par-saves as well, especially on 14 where I sank a big putt. That settled everything and I knew that only I could lose it then. It feels really good that I managed to hang in there,” Schietekat said.
Having conquered the testing, prestigious parkland layout at Royal Harare, Schietekat knows his game is in good shape before he heads off in a few weeks for his second season on the Asian Tour.
The 39-year-old Schietekat, who was educated and played his early golf in KwaZulu-Natal, praised the course that gave him his fifth Sunshine Tour title.
“There are a couple of holes you can go for it, the reward is big, but if you don’t pull it off then you are in big trouble. I missed a few fairways and greens today and if you miss the greens, then it becomes really tough to get up and down because the greens are so quick. They’re probably the best greens we play on all year,” Schietekat said.
Jacques P. de Villiers fired a four-under 68 on Sunday to lift himself to second place, his highest finish on the Sunshine Tour, alongside Peter Karmis and Jaco Ahlers, who both shot 70s, on seven-under for the tournament.
Ryan van Velzen also shot a 68 to claim fifth place on six-under-par, while Kieran Vincent was the leading Zimbabwean, on three-under-par with Danie van Niekerk.
- Michael Vlismas
06 May 23:14
Schietekat eyeing FBC Zim Open title
The experienced Neil Schietekat has put aside the disappointments of the previous season and will go into the final round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open at the Royal Harare Golf Club with a seven-stroke lead after he dominated the third round on Saturday with a six-under-par 66, the lowest round of the day.
The 39-year-old Schietekat has been a consistent contender on the Sunshine Tour for the last half-dozen seasons, but in 2022/23 he finished 47th in the Luna Order of Merit.
The Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club representative put it down to the challenges of competing both at home and on the Asian Tour for the first time.
But the new season has started in the best way possible with the fifth win of his Sunshine Tour career beckoning in Harare.
“It was my first year out in Asia and I was trying to juggle playing on both tours,” Schietekat said after his bogey-free round on Saturday.
“But by the standards I have set myself, I wasn’t great on either tour and I just kept my Asian Tour card.
“I struggled with the travel, being away from home for five or six weeks in a row, with a time-difference of seven hours sometimes, which makes it difficult to chat to your family.
“I haven’t really changed anything in my game, I’ve just been working hard and I’m taking a bit of a break from playing in Asia, before heading out in a couple of weeks. It’s about giving myself a better schedule this year.
“So now I have a nice gap going into the final round and it will just be about sticking to my guns and keep playing the way I have been,” Schietekat said.
While Schietekat is lord of all he surveys at the top of the leaderboard on 14-under-par, his 66 being two strokes better than the next best round on Saturday, he modestly said he had made several lengthy putts for par to keep his momentum going.
“I’m pretty chuffed with my score because the wind was swirling and the greens quickened up and became quite crusty towards the end of the day. So it was great to keep bogeys off my card because that allowed me to keep the momentum going. I made a lot of clutch putts for par,” Schietekat said.
Last year’s South African Strokeplay Championship winner Jonathan Broomhead, in his first season in the professional big time, shot a marvellous three-under-par 69 to land himself in second place on seven-under, alongside first-round leader Wynand Dingle (71).
Second-round leader Adam Breen is in the tie for fourth on five-under, having hit tough times on Saturday as he shot a 76. The experienced duo of Jaco Ahlers and Peter Karmis both shot 71s to also finish on five-under, while Robson Chinhoi is the leading Zimbabwean golfer as his 68 lifted him into a share of seventh place with Trevor Fisher Jnr on four-under-par. - Michael Vlismas
05 May 19:31
Breen breezes into weekend with FBC Zim Open lead
Adam Breen is in just his second season as a Sunshine Tour professional, but he has handled the challenges of the Royal Harare Golf Club course better than any of his more senior colleagues as he will head into the weekend leading the FBC Zimbabwe Open by one stroke.
In Friday’s second round, Breen fired a composed four-under-par 68, which included six birdies. Combined with his 67 on the first day, it lifted the Country Club Johannesburg golfer to nine-under for the tournament, one ahead of the experienced Neil Schietekat (69).
Breen began Friday’s round on the 10th hole and the 25-year-old said one of the hardest challenges posed by the classic parkland layout is how differently the two nines play, with the back nine being much more difficult.
“They are completely different nines. On the front nine, the par-fives are more straightforward and the par-threes are easier because there are no elevated greens. But on the back nine, the greens are elevated and it is quite punishing off the tee. They’ve been giving us back pins and the greens slope away towards the bunkers, so it is very hard to get the ball close," he said.
“You feel like you’re holding on for dear life and you want some sort of cushion before you play the back nine. But I actually found it quite nice to start on the back nine today, grind it out, trying to stay cool, and then opening up on the front nine,” Breen added.
And that’s exactly what the second-year pro did.
After two bogeys and a birdie in his first four holes, he made important birdies on the par-three 15th and par-four 18th holes, setting him up for a bogey-free front nine in which he picked up three more shots, on the third, fifth and sixth holes.
“It’s a challenging course and sometimes par can feel like birdie. You’ve just got to stay patient and set yourself up by being in the right spots. I’m in a nice position for the weekend because scoring is going to be tough,” Breen said.
ROUND 1 SCORES
-9 - Adam Breen 67 68 -8
- Neil Schietekat 67 69
-7 - Jacques P de Villiers 67 70
-6 - Wynand Dingle 66 (Par) 
-5 - Trevor Fisher Jnr 70 (-3) 
-4 - Ricky Hendler 69 71, Jonathan Broomhead 71 69, Peter Karmis 67 73, Jaco Ahlers 71 69, Jovan Rebula 68 72, Lyle Rowe 71 69, Sean Bradley 74 66
-3 - David Wicks 70 71, Ivan Verster 71 (-2) 
-2 - Estiaan Conradie 73 69, Stephen Ferreira 74 68, Ryan Van Velzen 72 70, Yurav Premlall 74 68, Jared Harvey 73 69
- Michael Vlismas
04 May 19:14
Dingle leading the charge at Royal Harare
Wynand Dingle continued the momentum from his best season ever on the Sunshine Tour when he opened the new campaign with a six-under-par 66 for the lead after the first round of the Zimbabwe Open, the first event of the new season, at Royal Harare Golf Club on Thursday.
Boosted by his breakthrough Sunshine Tour win at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at San Lameer last September, Dingle finished 16th in the 2022/23 Luna Order of Merit, a small matter of a 63-place improvement on his previous best season in 2018/19, when he finished 79th.
And back in a country he loves and where he has enjoyed success before, finishing in the top-10 in last year's Zimbabwe Open, Dingle hit the ground running with a birdie at the par-four first hole.
Although a bogey followed on the second, he birdied the fourth and then followed a wild run of three successive birdies from the seventh hole as he reached the back nine on four-under.
The 38-year-old's back nine was more sedate, with the highlight coming on the 604-yard par-five 16th when his eagle putt disappeared like a shrew into its hole.
Peter Karmis was able to call on his considerable experience and post a five-under 67 to share second place with another seasoned pro in Neil Schietekat and Jacques P. de Villiers and Adam Breen.
"I managed my game well and I was a bit lucky at times, sinking long putts, my short game kept me alive and when I was in the rough I seemed to find gaps between the trees," Karmis said.
"I'm playing with a lot of control at the moment, hitting the ball where I want to, which leads to a lot of confidence. And the greens are so pure here, it's crazy how good they are, so you're always going to make some putts.
"A good dinner and a good night's sleep will be key to shooting low again tomorrow," Karmis grinned.
Jovan Rebula was six-under-par through nine holes but then faded on the back nine, finishing with a 68 that left him in sixth place.
- Michael Vlismas
23 April 19:10
Ahlers wraps up season with Tour Championship win
Jaco Ahlers left the best for last, in all respects. In the final tournament of the Sunshine Tour season, Ahlers chipped in from the bunker for birdie on the last to claim a four-shot victory in the Tour Championship at Serengeti Estates on Sunday.
Ahlers closed with a 71 and a total of 17 under par to claim his 11th victory on the Sunshine Tour.
“I didn’t expect that finish. I was actually just trying to keep it together there at the end. But what a way to finish. I couldn’t have asked for more,” said Ahlers after he was drenched in six bottles of champagne by a group of Serengeti fans with whom he has a special relationship.
“This one was always special. I have a big tie with Serengeti and the people here. My sponsor lives here and I have a lot of support here. This is like a second home for me. It’s a special win this one.”
Casey Jarvis finished second on 13 under par after closing with a 70. Luca Filippi, Ryan van Velzen and Pieter Moolman shared third on eight under par.
Ahlers went into the final round five strokes clear of Jarvis. After the par-three fifth hole, Ahlers was seven shots ahead of Jarvis as he threatened to surpass the record six-stroke victory by Tristen Strydom last year.
But Jarvis then made three consecutive birdies from the sixth to cut Ahlers’s lead down to three.
However, Ahlers remained composed, and when Jarvis bogeyed the 11th and 14th holes, Ahlers birdied the 14th to give himself a six-shot lead with four to play. He bogeyed 17 and then made the incredible birdie on 18.
With this being the season-ending tournament, Ockie Strydom claimed the overall Luno Order of Merit title thereby securing himself a place in two of the four Majors – the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and, via the Federation Ranking on the Official World Golf Ranking, the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill – as well as in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
He also wins R500 000 in Bitcoin. Casey Jarvis walked off with the Rookie of the Season award for a remarkable first season on the Sunshine Tour in which he challenged for a maiden victory on several occasions, shot only the second 59 in Sunshine Tour history, and finished seventh on the final Luno Order of Merit.
– Michael Vlismas.
(Photo Credit: Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)
271 - Jaco Ahlers 66 65 69 71
275 - Casey Jarvis 67 67 71 70
280 - Luca Filippi 69 72 71 68, Ryan Van Velzen 70 69 72 69, Pieter Moolman 68 70 71 71
281 - Keenan Davidse 67 69 74 71
282 - Stefan Wears-Taylor 71 70 75 66, Wilco Nienaber 70 74 71 67, Hennie Otto 70 70 71 71
283 - Jayden Schaper 73 71 73 66, Benjamin Follett-Smith 73 71 71 68, Jacques Blaauw 68 74 69 72
284 - Jean Hugo 71 71 74 68, Hennie du Plessis 71 69 75 69, Jaco Prinsloo 70 71 70 73
285 - JJ Senekal 67 70 79 69, Heinrich Bruiners 68 73 71 73
286 - Herman Loubser 70 71 79 66, Wynand Dingle 72 72 73 69, Ockie Strydom 74 73 69 70, Dylan Mostert 72 76 68 70, Brandon Stone 71 75 70 70, Dylan Naidoo 72 71 71 72, Martin Rohwer 72 67 74 73, Daniel van Tonder 70 74 68 74
287 - Oliver Bekker 68 75 75 69, Jaco Van Zyl 71 68 76 72
288 - Malcolm Mitchell 73 73 73 69, Hennie O'Kennedy 71 69 71 77
290 - Martin Vorster 74 70 74 72, Kyle Barker 72 70 72 76
21 April 19:45
Jaco Ahlers tightened his grip on the season-ending Tour Championship as he moved into a three-stroke lead headed into the weekend at Serengeti Estates.
On another windy day on Friday Ahlers was outstanding with the putter and signed for a 65 to lead on 13 under par. Casey Jarvis is his nearest challenger on 10 under following a 67, and Keenan Davidse continues to do well despite being treated for bronchitis as he posted a 69 to currently lie in third place on eight under par.
Ahlers’s level of comfort at a Serengeti Estates, which he calls his second home, is very clear to see. The only errors he made on Friday were two poor iron shots – both of them on par threes – on his second nine.
“I’m very happy. I did make two bad bogeys on the back nine, which was really just bad iron shots. But other than that the putter is working like magic for me. The greens are good, the golf course is good, so you can’t ask for more,” said Ahlers, who is also staying with his sponsor on the estate this week.
And this is clearly a golf course he enjoys. “I like this golf course a lot. I can see what I need to do around here. The course fits my eye so I know where to miss it and I know how to get it around here. It really just comes down to the putting. There are a lot of birdies out there. You just need to be patient. My gameplan won’t change for the weekend. Hopefully the putter just keeps working like it is.”
– Michael Vlismas
Scores: 131 - Jaco Ahlers 66 65
134 - Casey Jarvis 67 67
136 - Keenan Davidse 67 69
137 - JJ Senekal 67 70
138 - Pieter Moolman 68 70
139 - Ryan Van Velzen 70 69, Jaco Van Zyl 71 68, Martin Rohwer 72 67
140 - Hennie Otto 70 70, Hennie du Plessis 71 69, Hennie O'Kennedy 71 69
141 - Herman Loubser 70 71, Luca Filippi 69 72, Jaco Prinsloo 70 71, Heinrich Bruiners 68 73, Stefan Wears-Taylor 71 70, Louis Albertse 72 69
142 - Jean Hugo 71 71, Kyle Barker 72 70, Jacques Blaauw 68 74
143 - Dylan Naidoo 72 71, Oliver Bekker 68 75 144 - Wilco Nienaber 70 74, Martin Vorster 74 70, Daniel van Tonder 70 74, Benjamin Follett-Smith 73 71, Wynand Dingle 72 72, Jayden Schaper 73 71
145 - Bradley Bawden 73 72, Thriston Lawrence 72 73
146 - Albert Venter 76 70, Sean Bradley 74 72, Brandon Stone 71 75, Jake Redman 71 75, Malcolm Mitchell 73 73
147 - Ockie Strydom 74 73, MJ Viljoen 75 72 148 - Ruan Korb 75 73, Dylan Mostert 72 76 149 -
Lyle Rowe 73 76, Dan Erickson 72 77 150 - Combrinck Smit 72 78, Keagan Thomas 76 74
152 - Stephen Ferreira 76 76
155 - Neil Schietekat 76 79
20 April 17:43
Ahlers chasing Tour Championship glory
Jaco Ahlers’ love for the Tour Championship and Serengeti Estates was clear to see as he opened with a six-under-par 66 to lead the first round of this Sunshine Tour season-ending tournament by a single stroke on Thursday.
Ahlers didn’t drop a single shot on a windy opening day and with some tough pin placements to test this field of the leading available professionals within the top 50 on the Sunshine Tour’s Luno Order of Merit.
The trio of Casey Jarvis, Keenan Davidse and JJ Senekal are one shot behind him.
Jarvis is again hunting a maiden Sunshine Tour title in his rookie season, and less than a week after shooting only the second 59 in Sunshine Tour history.
It’s been a busy season for Ahlers as he’s divided his time between the Sunshine Tour and Asia, and he’d love nothing more than to claim a victory at Serengeti this week.
“I didn’t play much in South Africa, but I finished third in the SDC Championship which secured my place in this field. This is a tournament I just love and want to win, so this is a good start,” he said.
“It’s a good golf course. The wind was blowing and there were a few tough pin placements, but the course was also soft which helps with the scoring. I’m really happy I didn’t make a bogey.”
Behind him, Jarvis is once again near the top of the leaderboard in what has been a stellar rookie season on the Sunshine Tour where he’s challenged for a maiden title on several occasions.
“I’m getting more comfortable in this position now and just want to keep learning. I didn’t think I’d be here playing in a Tour Championship in my rookie season and I’m really proud of myself for achieving that,” he said.
“There was a bit of wind the whole day – probably about a club-and-a-half. I played well. I struggled a bit with my wedges but I’m happy with my start. I rolled in the putts I needed to make.”
– Michael Vlismas
Scores: 66 - Jaco Ahlers
67 - Casey Jarvis, Keenan Davidse, JJ Senekal
68 - Jacques Blaauw, Pieter Moolman, Oliver Bekker, Heinrich Bruiners
69 - Luca Filippi
70 - Herman Loubser, Jaco Prinsloo, Ryan Van Velzen, Wilco Nienaber, Daniel van Tonder, Hennie Otto
71 - Hennie du Plessis, Hennie O'Kennedy, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Jake Redman, Brandon Stone, Jaco Van Zyl, Jean Hugo
72 - Kyle Barker, Dylan Mostert, Dan Erickson, Louis Albertse, Wynand Dingle, Dylan Naidoo, Thriston Lawrence, Martin Rohwer, Combrinck Smit
73 - Jayden Schaper, Malcolm Mitchell, Bradley Bawden, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Lyle Rowe
74 - Martin Vorster, Sean Bradley, Ockie Strydom
75 - Ruan Korb, MJ Viljoen
76 - Keagan Thomas, Stephen Ferreira, Albert Venter, Neil Schietekat
16 April 18:35
When it comes to a Players Championship, there could not have been a more popular winner of the Stella Artois Players Championship amongst all his peers than Kyle Barker.
The man with the biggest smile on the Sunshine Tour had even more reason to do so as Barker claimed his maiden victory on the circuit at Dainfern Country Club on Sunday.
A week of incredible scoring saw Barker sign off with a 61 to win on 30 under par.
He finished six shots clear of second-placed Peter Karmis, who closed with a 64, and Casey Jarvis, who signed for a final round of 68.
Karmis and Jarvis sharing second place alongside each other was another special moment as they also share the lowest round in Sunshine Tour history of 59.
Karmis shot his 59 in 2009 and Jarvis equaled that this week in the third round of this tournament. But the biggest smile and applause belonged to the ever-popular Barker.
“Thank you so much guys. Honestly, this feels like a dream right now. To all the supporters out there and everyone that came, it was just amazing. Thank you so much,” said Barker.
Barker was three shots off the overnight lead and then stormed through the field with the kind of free-flowing golf he’s known for, making six birdies on the front nine and then five on the second nine.
“My mindset was key out there today. I played carefree golf. I didn’t mind if I made a mistake, and if I did I bounced back immediately. My mindset was just so strong and my short game was also very good out there. The greens were superb. I’m just so proud of myself for doing this,” he said.
In a week of memorable moments, Barker said his six iron into the par-five 18th green would stand out as his favourite.
“I’ve never felt my hands shake so much in my life but I’m just glad it came out of the middle of the clubface and finished in the middle of the green, and the two-putt to win was awesome. I’m just so thankful to my family and my fiancé, Savannah, for their support.”
And one of the most popular players on the Sunshine Tour paid tribute to his fellow players as well.
“I also want to thank my best pals – my travel buddies. There have been a lot of ups and downs this year, but I really want to thank them. It’s been amazing and I look forward to our future memories to come.”
258 - Kyle Barker 68 64 65 61
264 - Peter Karmis 68 65 67 64, Casey Jarvis 71 66 59 68
265 - Dan Erickson 66 62 71 66, Lyle Rowe 65 65 66 69
266 - Luke Jerling 64 66 69 67, Jaco Van Zyl 66 65 67 68
267 - Estiaan Conradie 65 69 68 65, Darren Fichardt 62 68 71 66, Leon Vorster 66 66 68 67
15 April 18:05
59 for Jarvis equals Sunshine Tour record
Casey Jarvis shot a 59 to equal the lowest tournament round in Sunshine Tour history in Saturday's third round of the Stella Artois Players Championship at Dainfern Country Club and which puts him two shots behind tournament leader Luca Filippi.
It was another day of the most incredible scoring in a tournament that has already delivered some world-class golf.
Jarvis tapped in for par on 18 for his 59 on Saturday to equal the 59 shot by Peter Karmis in the 2009 Lombard Insurance Classic on the Royal Swazi Spa Golf Course in eSwatini.
It lifted him to tied second with Lyle Rowe on 20 under par, with Filippi scoring 29 on the back nine for a 66 that earned him the sole lead on 22 under par.
But 19-year-old Jarvis stole the show with his record-equaling round.
"I definitely didn’t wake up this morning thinking about a 59. I haven’t been playing well leading up to this round but everything just went for me today. You get out there and the putts just start dropping,” said Jarvis. The putts started dropping for him as early as the second hole where he made his first birdie of the day. It started a run of seven consecutive birdies for a front nine of 29. Then Jarvis added two birdies and two eagles on the back nine for a 30. “I hit some good quality shots and rolled in a lot of good putts. The putt on seven was quite long and when that went in I knew it was going to be something quite special,” said Jarvis.
"The eagle on the 17th was really big. I stood on the 18th tee with 59 in my mind. I hit a bad drive but got it done. It’s so tough to do."
Filippi was delighted with his own performance, and particular the work he's been doing on staying in the moment and not being sidetracked by what is going on around him.
Saturday was certainly a good day to put that to the test.
"I think I did a great job of staying patient and in the present with all the birdies out there. I'm very pleased with the way I've played this week and I'll give it my all in the final round. Casey's 59 was incredible golf and it will be a good battle with him on the final day. But I'm really comfortable with the position I’m in at the moment."
Between Jarvis' record-equaling golf and Filippi shooting his second consecutive 29 over nine holes in this tournament, Daniel van Tonder also added to a day of thrilling golf with his hole-in-one on the par-three 16th, earning himself R200 000 from sponsor Stella Artois.
- Michael Vlismas
14 April 21:01
Filippi and Erickson go low to lead at Dainfern
The low scoring continued in the second round of the Stella Artois Players Championship at Dainfern Country Club on Friday as South Africa's Luca Filippi posted his first 29 over nine holes in a tournament for a 64 and American Dan Erickson signed for a 62 to see them share the lead on 16 under par going into the weekend.
They are two strokes clear of Darren Fichardt, Lyle Rowe, Tristen Strydom, Luke Jerling and Jovan Rebula after 36 holes in which the halfway cut fell at five under par.
Erickson carded two eagles during his round, while Filippi turned one under for the round and then lit up his second nine.
"It was just a magical nine. I had a six-metre putt on the last hole to break 30 and it was an unreal feeling to get that first 29 in a tournament," said Filippi, who has been showing signs of this kind of performance.
"I've been playing some great golf recently and come close so many times now, so I'm really looking forward to what unfolds on the weekend. I've been getting more comfortable in high pressure situations and understanding what your body does under pressure. I've been working hard with a psychologist and we talk a lot about staying in the moment, and that's been a real switch for me. It's just about feeling comfortable and knowing what kind of shot shape I hit under the gun."
Filippi identified the par fives as the key to scoring at Dainfern, and co-leader Erickson felt exactly the same.
"They're lighting it up out here. It's crazy how low the scores have been. I don't find that the golf course is really set up that easy. I think it’s just the fact that the par fives are reachable, so you can really take advantage of those. I had eagle looks on all the par fives today and made two of them."
Much like Filippi, Erickson is also doing his best to stay in the present on a golf course where it can feel like you are losing ground if you're not making a handful of birdies.
"That's where I can go wrong on golf courses like this where the scores are really low. I try to force birdies, and it would be better for me to just try to stay patient and let the birdies come. Patience and just sticking to the gameplan will be the biggest key for me for the weekend. I've done a good job of not feeling like I had to shoot a low score the past few days."
- Michael Vlismas
13 April 19:42
Fichardt the toast of day one in Stella Artois Players Championship
Darren Fichardt signed off with a birdie and an eagle for a round of 10-under-par 62 to lead the first round of the Stella Artois Players Championship by a single stroke at Dainfern Country Club on Thursday.
On a day of low scores Fichardt had to produce his bit of the magic in the windier afternoon conditions. He started his round with two straight birdies, made four consecutive birdies to the turn, added another at the par-five 12th and then took the lead with his birdie-eagle finish.
Tristen Strydom led for most of the day with his opening 63 before Fichardt’s 62.
“It was quite windy in the afternoon, but the greens are so good that if you hit a good putt it goes in. The greens are really primed for low scoring,” said Fichardt.
The experienced Sunshine Tour professional admits his game hasn’t been at the standard he wants this year. But rounds such as this one, and a previous 62 in the third round of the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open in February, certainly give him the confidence that what he’s working on is close to paying off.
“I haven’t been playing that well this year, but I’ve been working really hard. I’ve been trying to find the secret to a few things in my game, and today was a good indication that I’m almost there. I’ve almost got it sorted out, and I can look forward to some good rounds ahead.”
Behind him, Strydom also felt comfortable in a tournament where he finished third last year, and at a time of the year when he always seems to play well. After his third-place finish in this event last year he went on to win his first Sunshine Tour title in the season-ending Tour Championship a week later.
– Michael Vlismas
62 - Darren Fichardt
63 - Tristen Strydom
64 - Jared Harvey, Luke Jerling, Keagan Thomas, Jovan Rebula, Luca Filippi, Dylan Mostert, Albert Venter
65 - Lyle Rowe, Estiaan Conradie
66 - Franklin Manchest, Michael Palmer, Dan Erickson, Jaco Van Zyl, Leon Vorster, Callum Mowat, Daniel van Tonder, Rupert Kaminski
67 - Quintin Wilsnach, Rhys Enoch, Ryan Van Velzen, JJ Senekal, Keenan Davidse, Malcolm Mitchell, Christiaan Burke, Rourke van der Spuy, Robin Williams, Pierre Pellegrin
68 - Jason Smith, Lindani Ndwandwe, Erhard Lambrechts, Ruan Korb, Jean Hugo, Therion Nel, Sean Bradley, Luke Brown, Peter Karmis, Jacques P de Villiers, Jacques Blaauw, Kyle Barker, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Jastice Mashego, Dean O'Riley
69 - Makhetha Mazibuko, Matias Calderon, Brandon Stone, Martin Rohwer, Richard Joubert, Kyle McClatchie, Thabang Simon, Thanda Mavundla, Fredrik From, Louis Albertse, Mutahi Kibugu, Nikhil Rama, Doug McGuigan, Harry Konig, Adam Breen, Karabo Mokoena, James Mack
70 - James Pennington, Henning du Plooy, Bradley Bawden, Herman Loubser, Dylan Naidoo, Combrinck Smit, Stephen Ferreira, Ulrich van den Berg, Siyanda Mwandla, Clayton Mansfield, James Hart du Preez, Heinrich Bruiners, Chris Cannon, Thriston Lawrence, Alex Haindl, Christiaan Basson, Wynand Dingle, Keelan van Wyk
71 - Michael Hollick, Jean-Paul Strydom, Hennie Otto, Sean Cronje, Clancy Waugh, Madalitso Muthiya, Matthew Spacey, Wallie Coetsee, Ruan de Smidt, Hennie O'Kennedy, Casey Jarvis, Martin Vorster, Dwayne Basson, Adriel Poonan
72 - Andre De Decker, Allister de Kock, Pieter Moolman, Jake Redman, Vaughn van Deventer, Andre Van Dyk, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Paul Boshoff, Steve Surry, Yurav Premlall, Steven Le Roux, CJ du Plessis, James Kamte, Riekus Nortje, Rhys West, Wade Jacobs, Alphius Kelapile
73 - Irvin Mazibuko, Hayden Griffiths, Michael Kok, Toto Thimba Jnr
74 - Mandla Dlamini Jnr, Ruan Conradie, Lincon Denzy Cele, Samuel Simpson, Merrick Bremner, Jordan Duminy, Danie Van Niekerk
75 - Clinton Grobler, Lwazi Gqira, Brandon-Jude Rennie, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu, Slenda Sithebe
76 - Chris Swanepoel, Keelan Africa, Gerard du Plooy, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Evance Vukeya
77 - Sandy Makume, Maverick Faber, Shaahid Mahmed, Dayne Moore, Andre De Jager
78 - SP Mthethwa
80 - Tumelo Molloyi
02 April 19:14
Debut Sunshine Tour win for Van Velzen in Limpopo Championship
Ryan van Velzen claimed his maiden victory on the Sunshine Tour in a dramatic final round of the Limpopo Championship at the Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate on Sunday.
At the end of a difficult week of weather delays which forced the tournament to be reduced to 54 holes, the 21-year-old Van Velzen signed for a final round of 68 to win by a single stroke on 12 under par. Jaco Prinsloo, Luca Filippi and Daniel van Tonder shared second place on 11 under par. Former South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) member Franklin Manchest achieved an impressive top 10 finish on seven under par.
A thrilling Sunday began with the suspended second round being completed on Sunday morning. Prinsloo posted a 67 – including four consecutive birdies on the back nine – to claim a two-stroke lead on 11 under par, with Neil Schietekat his nearest challenger on nine under par. Van Velzen was in a share of third place on eight under par.
In the third and final round, Prinsloo appeared to be well in control and headed for victory as he birdied the 16th for a one-stroke lead over Van Velzen with only the par-five 18th to come. Van Velzen had already made it into the clubhouse on 12 under.
But Prinsloo double bogeyed the 18th after hitting his approach deep into the left rough, with Van Velzen watching as he celebrated his first victory on the Sunshine Tour.
“It’s incredible. It’s awesome,” said an emotional Van Velzen.
“This changes everything for me. I’m now into every single Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament next season.”
Van Velzen’s putter was the key for him this week.
“I’ve been working really hard and I holed some good putts. I also stayed really calm during all the weather disruptions. My caddie Luke was such a big help for me. He kept me in a good space and we just had a good time out there. I’d set myself a target for 15 under overall. I didn’t get there, but I played unbelievable golf this whole week and had so much fun out there.”
-12 Ryan Van Velzen 69 67 68
-11 Jaco Prinsloo 66 67 72, Luca Filippi 71 68 66, Daniel van Tonder 71 66 68
-10 Jean-Paul Strydom 71 69 66
-9 Neil Schietekat 66 69 72, Jbe' Kruger 69 71 67, James Hart du Preez 72 67 68
-8 Wynand Dingle 68 70 70
- Sunshine Tour
01 April 19:40
Schietekat calm amidst the Limpopo Championship storm
In a Limpopo Championship week of weather suspensions, a waterlogged golf course, a tournament reduced to 54 holes, and three days to play two rounds of golf, Neil Schietekat has actually felt more in control of his game than before.
When darkness fell on Saturday with the second round of this tournament still to be completed, Schietekat was already safely in the clubhouse in the lead with a 36-hole total of nine under par.
After Thursday’s weather suspension then no play on Friday because of heavy rain and a waterlogged golf course, Saturday finally saw the completion of the first round.
Schietekat finished off his first round in a share of the lead alongside Jaco Prinsloo and Jacques Blaauw with a six-under-par 66.
The second started thereafter and Schietekat earned himself the sole clubhouse lead on nine under with a round of 69. The second round couldn’t be completed before darkness and will resume on Sunday morning before the shotgun start of the third and final round.
“The stop-start is a bit irritating but there is nothing you can do about it,” said Schietekat.
But he’s managed it superbly and is bogey free after two rounds. That alone has given him the satisfaction of knowing that what he’s been working on is now starting to pay off.
“I started off the year really badly. I was missing cuts on the Sunshine Tour and in Asia, and I’m not used to missing cuts. I was in a dark hole and I needed to step back and re-evaluate what I’m doing. I really needed to make a couple of changes,” he said.
“I changed coaches and I started seeing a sports psychologist, and it feels really good. I started seeing some results during the recent DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournaments in South Africa and I feel like I know what I’m doing now again.”
Behind him, Hennie du Plessis is once again well placed just one shot back following rounds of 67 and 69. Du Plessis has twice finished runner-up in this tournament. Christiaan Burke and Ryan van Velzen also managed to finish their second rounds to join Du Plessis on eight under overall.
Jaco Prinsloo is currently six under for the tournament through seven holes of his second round.
– Michael Vlismas
-9 - Neil Schietekat 66 69
-8 - Hennie du Plessis 67 69, Christiaan Burke 69 67, Ryan Van Velzen 69 67
-6 - Jaco Prinsloo 66 (Par) 
-5 - Franklin Manchest 71 68, Luca Filippi 71 68, Stephen Ferreira 69 (-2) , Jacques Blaauw 66 (+1) 
-4 - Deon Germishuys 69 71, Yurav Premlall 70 70, Jean-Paul Strydom 71 69, James Mack 73 67, Herman Loubser 70 (-2) , Wynand Dingle 68 (Par) 
31 March 21:34
Storm suspends play at Limpopo Championship
The Limpopo Championship was hit with severe weather on Friday which prevented the resumption of the suspended first round at the Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate, and with play eventually called off for the day.
The first round had to be suspended on Thursday as a result of dangerous weather conditions. Jaco Prinsloo and Jacques Blaauw shared the clubhouse lead with their rounds of six-under-par 66.
Wynand Dingle was two strokes back following his 68. Neil Schietekat and Keenan Davidse were also both on four under par through 12 holes when play was called off because of poor light.
Play was scheduled to resume at 7:40am on Friday, but a threat of lightning prevented this restart. Then persistent rainfall rendered the golf course unplayable, and with five hours required for the golf course maintenance team to prepare the course if and when it stopped raining, the decision was made to call off play for the day.
The first round will now resume at 7:30am on Saturday, with the second round scheduled to start at 9:05am.
– Michael Vlismas
30 March 18:47
Prinsloo, Blaauw share lead in Limpopo
Jaco Prinsloo and Jacques Blaauw both opened with rounds of six-under-par 66 to share the clubhouse lead in the suspended first round of the Limpopo Championship at the Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate on Thursday.
The duo are two strokes clear of Wynand Dingle, who signed for a 68. Neil Schietekat and Keenan Davidse were also both on six under par through 12 holes when play was called off because of poor light. Play was suspended earlier in the day because of dangerous weather conditions. The first round will be completed on Friday morning before the start of the second round.
Prinsloo continued his solid form this season in a part of the world where he feels right at home.
“I grew up about 100 kilometres from here so it feels like home. I grew up on this kind of grass and it’s nice to be here and be in the bush,” he said.
Prinsloo has been incredibly consistent over the past few months. Since his top 10 finish in December’s Investec South African Open he enjoyed an impressive run in the European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournaments in February where he finished third in the SDC Open and second in the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship.
He also added a share of 14th in the SDC Championship, which was co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour.
“It’s always nice to get off to a good start and see if you can build on that. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week,” he said.
Blaauw was also delighted to be in contention on a golf course he has immense respect for.
“We were all talking about it earlier in the week and you need to keep it in play off the tee box here. You can’t miss a fairway here. If you miss a fairway it’s penalising. I mean I had to take two unplayable lies today, but I’m happy I made some putts which eased it the other way. I know I can make a score out here and I’m just going to go out and keep firing.”
– Michael Vlismas
-6 - Jaco Prinsloo, Jacques Blaauw
-4 - Wynand Dingle, Neil Schietekat , Keenan Davidse 
-3 - Stephen Ferreira, Hennie O'Kennedy, Michael Hollick, Jbe' Kruger, Sean Bradley , Danie Van Niekerk , Hennie du Plessis , Luke Jerling , Deon Germishuys 
-2 - Clayton Mansfield, Herman Loubser, Jacques Kruyswijk, Ruan Korb, Rhys West, Casey Jarvis, Shaahid Mahmed , Christiaan Burke , Madalitso Muthiya , Matthew Spacey , Sean Cronje 
-1 - Combrinck Smit, Pieter Moolman, Lyle Rowe, Daniel van Tonder, Louis Albertse, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Ruan Conradie, Chris Cannon, Vaughn van Deventer , Franklin Manchest , Callum Mowat , Luca Filippi , Allister de Kock , Ryan Van Velzen , Clinton Grobler , Evance Vukeya , Karabo Mokoena , Michael Kok 
Par - Paul Boshoff, James Hart du Preez, Keagan Thomas, Martin Vorster, Jovan Rebula, Malcolm Mitchell , Yurav Premlall , Therion Nel , Fredrik From , Pierre Pellegrin , Quintin Wilsnach 
+1 - James Pennington, Adam Breen, Rupert Kaminski, JJ Senekal, Kyle Barker, Jacques P de Villiers, Jake Redman, Steve Surry, Harry Konig, MJ Viljoen, Estiaan Conradie, Slenda Sithebe, Aneurin Gounden , Irvin Mazibuko , James Mack , Peter Karmis , Jastice Mashego , Mohammad Rauf Mandhu , Maverick Faber 
+2 - Tristen Strydom, Robin Williams, Jean Hugo, Albert Venter, CJ du Plessis, Luke Brown, Hayden Griffiths, Clancy Waugh, Keelan Africa , Wade Jacobs , Samuel Simpson , Thabang Simon , Heinrich Bruiners , Sentanio Minnie , Gerard du Plooy , Doug McGuigan , Jean-Paul Strydom , Leon Vorster 
+3 - Richard Joubert, Jacquin Hess, Ricky Hendler, Siyanda Mwandla, Toto Thimba Jnr, Erhard Lambrechts , Brandon-Jude Rennie , Lwazi Gqira , Musiwalo Nethunzwi , Thanda Mavundla , Mutahi Kibugu , Henning du Plooy , Mandla Dlamini Jnr , Mike Maile , Dayne Moore 
+4 - Kyle McClatchie, Jason Smith, Steven Le Roux , James Kamte , Wallie Coetsee , Makhetha Mazibuko , Adriel Poonan , Tristin Galant , Tumelo Molloyi 
+5 - Alex Haindl, Jared Harvey
+6 - Lincon Denzy Cele, Chris Swanepoel, Andre De Decker, Keegan Mclachlan , Dion Fourie , Alphius Kelapile , Keelan van Wyk 
+7 - Reinhardt Blaauw, Matias Calderon
+10 - Ricco Motsa
+11 - Mark Maart
+12 - Ruan de Smidt
26 March 16:39
Germany’s Nick Bachem claimed a dream debut victory on the DP World Tour when he won the Jonsson Workwear Open, co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, by four shots at The Club at Steyn City on Sunday.
Bachem closed with a bogey-free final round of 64 to win on 24 under par.
South Africans Zander Lombard and Hennie du Plessis shared second place on 20 under par with their respective final rounds of 65 and 68.
Bachem’s rise has been incredible from only recently playing on the Euro Pro Tour and then European Challenge Tour, to now being crowned a champion on the DP World Tour.
“It feels amazing. I think it’s my 10th start on the DP World Tour. I always believed I could win out here," he said.
"But to be honest, just playing on the DP World Tour has been overwhelming, and now to win on it as well is amazing. I actually can’t process what’s happened to me over the last few years.”
Bachem overcame a challenging start to his final round when his drive off the first was plugged in a fairway bunker. He managed to make an incredible par from there and went on to play flawless golf.
“I had a bad start with that plugged lie on the first hole and a pitch out. But I changed my mindset during this tournament. I led a tournament in Kenya recently and I tried too hard to win there and it didn’t work out. So this week I just stuck to the plan and stayed calm. My caddie is also very experienced and kept me in the moment most of the time. I just wanted to enjoy today and enjoy having the chance to win a tournament. I played great and am lucky it was my day.”
Bachem says he’s also determined to enjoy every moment of what he believes is a privilege to play professional golf.
“I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do with my life, and how lucky I am. I mean, to be here in South Africa in the sunshine playing a beautiful golf course while it’s snowing back home, and all I have to worry about is whether I make a few birdies or not – that’s a pretty good life. I’m determined to enjoy every moment of being on tour and to really savour it. I learn from the bad weeks and enjoy the good ones.” – Michael Vlismas
264 - Nick Bachem 65 66 69 64
268 - Zander Lombard 68 69 66 65, Hennie du Plessis 69 66 65 68
269 - Ockie Strydom 69 64 69 67, Ewen Ferguson 66 69 66 68
270 - Kristian Krogh Johannessen 70 68 68 64, Gavin Green 66 67 67 70, Joakim Lagergren 65 72 63 70
271 - Jacques Kruyswijk 68 68 68 67, Hennie O'Kennedy 65 69 69 68, Sebastian Soderberg 65 69 69 68, Romain Langasque 68 64 69 70
272 - Aaron Cockerill 66 69 72 65, Robin Sciot-Siegrist 68 70 69 65, Marcel Schneider 68 65 70 69, Alexander Knappe 68 66 65 73
273 - Alejandro Del Rey 72 67 67 67, Jayden Schaper 66 69 71 67, Wynand Dingle 68 69 69 67, Keenan Davidse 69 68 68 68, Mikko Korhonen 67 70 68 68, Daniel Brown 69 68 67 69, Martin Simonsen 66 71 67 69
274 - Jordan Smith 69 69 69 67, Andy Sullivan 67 71 69 67, Jamie Donaldson 68 69 69 68, James Hart du Preez 69 70 68 67, Kalle Samooja 68 65 72 69, Julien Guerrier 70 66 69 69, Sami Valimaki 67 65 72 70, Julien Brun 67 66 70 71
275 - Daniel van Tonder 67 69 71 68, Matthew Baldwin 68 68 70 69, Matthieu Pavon 74 65 66 70, Hurly Long 67 71 67 70, Stefan Wears-Taylor 68 70 71 66, Louis Albertse 69 66 69 71, Wilco Nienaber 67 69 68 71, Martin Vorster 64 69 68 74
276 - Clement Sordet 69 69 70 68, Ross Fisher 69 67 69 71, George Coetzee 66 72 72 66
277 - Joost Luiten 67 68 71 71, Jbe' Kruger 68 68 70 71, Niklas Norgaard 66 70 72 69
278 - Lyle Rowe 70 68 69 71, Justin Walters 69 67 71 71, Oliver Wilson 68 69 72 69, Jaco Van Zyl 71 68 70 69, Merrick Bremner 69 70 70 69, Calum Hill 66 72 74 66
279 - Mikael Lindberg 69 67 69 74, John Catlin 69 70 70 70, Jaco Prinsloo 71 67 72 69, Bradley Bawden 69 70 71 69, Thriston Lawrence 68 68 75 68, Louis de Jager 69 68 75 67
280 - Connor Syme 70 69 70 71, Neil Schietekat 69 68 73 70, Deon Germishuys 73 66 71 70, Shaun Norris 71 68 71 70, Nicolai Von Dellingshausen 67 72 72 69, Philip Eriksson 69 70 73 68
281 - Oliver Hundeboll 68 69 70 74, Paul Waring 67 71 69 74, MJ Viljoen 69 69 71 72, Joshua Lee 68 67 74 72, Jens Dantorp 73 66 70 72, Dylan Mostert 69 66 75 71
282 - Darren Fichardt 64 72 75 71283 - Martin Rohwer 69 70 71 73, Tom McKibbin 68 70 75 70
284 - Benjamin Follett-Smith 67 70 69 78, Thomas Aiken 72 66 73 73, Sam Hutsby 69 69 74 72
285 - Ma Chengyao 70 68 74 73290 - Daniel Gavins 67 72 81 70
291 - Trevor Fisher Jnr 67 72 73 79
25 March 19:35
Knappe leads into final round of Jonsson Workwear Open
On a day of rain and delayed tee times, having no strategy proved to be the best strategy for Germany’s Alexander Knappe as he claimed the lead in the Jonsson Workwear Open headed into Sunday’s final round at The Club at Steyn City.
When the third round finally teed off at 11am, Knappe decided to just see where his golf takes him on a difficult day. The result was a solid 65 for a one-stroke lead on 17 under par.
“I had no strategy to be honest. I just played golf and waited to see how it ended up. No strategy,” he said.
“It was great work. I made one bogey out there but I am only human so I can’t be too hard on myself. There was no roll on the fairways but you could go for every pin because it was so soft.”
Knappe has won before in South Africa in last year’s Dimension Data Pro-Am, which was co-sanctioned with the European Challenge Tour.
But Sunday’s final round will be a new experience for him at DP World Tour level.
“It’s my first time leading a big event. I’ll see how I prepare for that mentally. But I’m just enjoying that feeling right now.”
South Africa’s Hennie du Plessis, Swede Joakim Lagergren, Malaysia’s Gavin Green and Germany’s Nick Bachem are his nearest challengers on 16 under par.
– Michael Vlismas
199 - Alexander Knappe 68 66 65
200 - Joakim Lagergren 65 72 63, Hennie du Plessis 69 66 65, Gavin Green 66 67 67, Nick Bachem 65 66 69
201 - Ewen Ferguson 66 69 66, Martin Vorster 64 69 68, Romain Langasque 68 64 69
202 - Ockie Strydom 69 64 69
203 - Zander Lombard 68 69 66, Sebastian Soderberg 65 69 69, Hennie O'Kennedy 65 69 69, Marcel Schneider 68 65 70, Julien Brun 67 66 70
204 - Martin Simonsen 66 71 67, Daniel Brown 69 68 67, Jacques Kruyswijk 68 68 68, Wilco Nienaber 67 69 68, Louis Albertse 69 66 69, Sami Valimaki 67 65 72
205 - Mikko Korhonen 67 70 68, Keenan Davidse 69 68 68, Ross Fisher 69 67 69, Julien Guerrier 70 66 69, Mikael Lindberg 69 67 69, Hurly Long 67 71 67, Matthieu Pavon 74 65 66, Kalle Samooja 68 65 72
206 - Benjamin Follett-Smith 67 70 69, Wynand Dingle 68 69 69, Jamie Donaldson 68 69 69, Jbe' Kruger 68 68 70, Matthew Baldwin 68 68 70, Kristian Krogh Johannessen 70 68 68, Jayden Schaper 66 69 71, Joost Luiten 67 68 71, Alejandro Del Rey 72 67 67
207 - Oliver Hundeboll 68 69 70, Jordan Smith 69 69 69, Paul Waring 67 71 69, Andy Sullivan 67 71 69, Lyle Rowe 70 68 69, Justin Walters 69 67 71, Daniel van Tonder 67 69 71, Aaron Cockerill 66 69 72, Robin Sciot-Siegrist 68 70 69, James Hart du Preez 69 70 68
208 - Niklas Norgaard 66 70 72, Clement Sordet 69 69 70
209 - Oliver Wilson 68 69 72, MJ Viljoen 69 69 71, Stefan Wears-Taylor 68 70 71, Joshua Lee 68 67 74, Connor Syme 70 69 70, Jaco Van Zyl 71 68 70, John Catlin 69 70 70, Merrick Bremner 69 70 70, Jens Dantorp 73 66 70
210 - Neil Schietekat 69 68 73, George Coetzee 66 72 72, Jaco Prinsloo 71 67 72, Dylan Mostert 69 66 75, Deon Germishuys 73 66 71, Martin Rohwer 69 70 71, Shaun Norris 71 68 71, Bradley Bawden 69 70 71
211 - Darren Fichardt 64 72 75, Thriston Lawrence 68 68 75, Thomas Aiken 72 66 73, Nicolai Von Dellingshausen 67 72 72
212 - Louis de Jager 69 68 75, Ma Chengyao 70 68 74, Sam Hutsby 69 69 74, Calum Hill 66 72 74, Philip Eriksson 69 70 73, Trevor Fisher Jnr 67 72 73
213 - Tom McKibbin 68 70 75
220 - Daniel Gavins 67 72 81
24 March 19:17
Surfer Bachem rides into Jonsson Workwear Open lead
Germany’s Nick Bachem has often spent six weeks living out of a camper van and surfing in Portugal. He’s been on a safari in Kenya during a tournament, and last week he surfed at Jeffreys Bay for the first time.
For a man who loves to try new things on tour, it’s probably no surprise that he pulled out a new driver for this week’s Jonsson Workwear Open at The Club at Steyn City, and it’s taken him to the top of the leaderboard.
Bachem’s 66 in Friday’s second round lifted him to 13 under par and a one-stroke lead over the field in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event.
Frenchman Romain Langasque and Finland’s Sami Valimaki are his nearest challengers following their respective rounds of 64 and 65. And South Africa’s Martin Vorster and Ockie Strydom are in a group of players including Gavin Green, Kalle Samooja, Julien Brun and Marcel Schneider on 11 under going into the weekend.
Strydom is hunting his third DP World Tour title in just over three months.
Bachem’s adventurous spirit has certainly worked for him this week on a golf course that’s forgiven him the odd miss with his new driver, and which he’s also made up for with an incredible short game.
“It’s the perfect course to try out a new driver because you can tee it high and let it fly, and just hit it as hard as you want to,” he said.
“I feel like when I try new stuff on tour it’s always a good experience and afterwards I find I’m happy I did it,” he added of his penchant for trying new things in the countries he visits.
“When you’re into surfing you’ve definitely heard about the Jeffreys Bay wave. It’s one of the most famous spots in the world. We stayed there for a tournament and I surfed every morning and afternoon. It was amazing. I like coming to South Africa. It feels like I spend more time here than in Germany. I also enjoy seeing so many great places and new people on tour. You get the chance to do stuff you would never do normally.”
– Michael Vlismas
Scores: 131 - Nick Bachem 65 66
132 - Romain Langasque 68 64, Sami Valimaki 67 65
133 - Gavin Green 66 67, Kalle Samooja 68 65, Martin Vorster 64 69, Julien Brun 67 66, Ockie Strydom 69 64, Marcel Schneider 68 65
134 - Hennie O'Kennedy 65 69, Sebastian Soderberg 65 69, Alexander Knappe 68 66
135 - Ewen Ferguson 66 69, Joost Luiten 67 68, Joshua Lee 68 67, Dylan Mostert 69 66, Hennie du Plessis 69 66, Louis Albertse 69 66, Jayden Schaper 66 69, Aaron Cockerill 66 69
136 - Mikael Lindberg 69 67, Daniel van Tonder 67 69, Wilco Nienaber 67 69, Justin Walters 69 67, Niklas Norgaard 66 70, Julien Guerrier 70 66, Matthew Baldwin 68 68, Ross Fisher 69 67, Thriston Lawrence 68 68, Jbe' Kruger 68 68, Darren Fichardt 64 72, Jacques Kruyswijk 68 68
137 - Zander Lombard 68 69, Keenan Davidse 69 68, Joakim Lagergren 65 72, Jamie Donaldson 68 69, Benjamin Follett-Smith 67 70, Oliver Hundeboll 68 69, Mikko Korhonen 67 70, Martin Simonsen 66 71, Oliver Wilson 68 69, Wynand Dingle 68 69, Neil Schietekat 69 68, Louis de Jager 69 68, Daniel Brown 69 68
138 - Ma Chengyao 70 68, George Coetzee 66 72, Jordan Smith 69 69, Paul Waring 67 71, Andy Sullivan 67 71, Lyle Rowe 70 68, MJ Viljoen 69 69, Jaco Prinsloo 71 67, Sam Hutsby 69 69, Clement Sordet 69 69, Thomas Aiken 72 66, Kristian Krogh Johannessen 70 68, Hurly Long 67 71, Calum Hill 66 72, Tom McKibbin 68 70, Robin Sciot-Siegrist 68 70, Stefan Wears-Taylor 68 70
139 - Deon Germishuys 73 66, Connor Syme 70 69, Daniel Gavins 67 72, Philip Eriksson 69 70, Martin Rohwer 69 70, Trevor Fisher Jnr 67 72, Matthieu Pavon 74 65, Shaun Norris 71 68, Nicolai Von Dellingshausen 67 72, James Hart du Preez 69 70, Jaco Van Zyl 71 68, John Catlin 69 70, Merrick Bremner 69 70, Jens Dantorp 73 66, Alejandro Del Rey 72 67, Bradley Bawden 69 70
23 March 19:36
SA duo Fichardt and Vorster lead Jonsson Workwear Open
South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and Martin Vorster took advantage of a cool day and a receptive golf course to share the first-round clubhouse lead in the Jonsson Workwear Open at The Club at Steyn City on Thursday.
Fichardt set the clubhouse target with his morning round of eight-under-par 64, and was joined there in the afternoon by Vorster as both players never dropped a single shot on day one of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
They are one stroke clear of Sebastian Soderberg, Hennie O’Kennedy, Joakim Lagergren and Nick Bachem.
Play was suspended at 18:27 because of fading light and with a few players still finishing off their first rounds. But none of them will challenge the current lead.
Momentum proved a key factor for both Fichardt and Vorster on Thursday. Fichardt teed off the 10th and started his round with two consecutive birdies and never looked back.
“I just carried on with that momentum. I didn’t have a great warm-up so for my first two holes I was just focused on swinging it easy and hitting fairways and greens. I managed to make those two birdies and that was me. I just stayed consistent for the rest of the round. Once you get off to a hot start there’s no fixing up to do. You just keep riding the wave,” he said.
Vorster also enjoyed a momentum shift in his round. After missing a few short birdie putts towards the end of the front nine, the young star made an eagle on the 10th which sparked a run of four birdies in six holes thereafter.
“I’m very happy. After I missed a few short birdie putts on the front nine my caddie Michal just told me to be patient. On 10 I hit a great second shot and made the putt for eagle and that shifted the momentum for me. I hit the ball really well and gave myself plenty of opportunities and ended up making a few putts so a really solid start to the tournament.”
While the 47-year-old Fichardt is hunting his sixth DP World Tour victory, the 21-year-old Vorster is still in his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour and seeking his maiden professional victory this week.
– Michael Vlismas
-8 - Darren Fichardt, Martin Vorster
-7 - Sebastian Soderberg, Hennie O'Kennedy, Joakim Lagergren, Nick Bachem
-6 - Calum Hill, Aaron Cockerill, Jayden Schaper, Ewen Ferguson, George Coetzee, Gavin Green, Niklas Norgaard, Martin Simonsen
-5 - Sami Valimaki, Nicolai Von Dellingshausen, Hurly Long, Daniel van Tonder, Andy Sullivan, Paul Waring, Daniel Gavins, Wilco Nienaber, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Joost Luiten, Mikko Korhonen, Julien Brun, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Adam Breen 
-4 - Romain Langasque, Jake Redman, Matthew Baldwin, Jbe' Kruger, Thriston Lawrence, Oliver Wilson, Wynand Dingle, Yeongsu Kim, Jacques Kruyswijk, Tom McKibbin, Marcel Schneider, Robin Sciot-Siegrist, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Zander Lombard, Alexander Knappe, Jamie Donaldson, Oliver Hundeboll, Kalle Samooja, Kyle Barker, Joshua Lee, Jeong Weon Ko 
-3 - Clement Sordet, Dylan Mostert, Ross Fisher, Ockie Strydom, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ruan Korb, Luke Brown, Hennie du Plessis, James Hart du Preez, Merrick Bremner, John Catlin, Louis Albertse, Rourke van der Spuy, Neil Schietekat, Louis de Jager, Simon Forsstrom, Daniel Brown, Pedro Figueiredo, Heinrich Bruiners, Bradley Bawden, Keenan Davidse, Oliver Bekker, Mikael Lindberg, Jordan Smith, JJ Senekal, Philip Eriksson, Justin Walters, MJ Viljoen, Martin Rohwer, Sam Hutsby 
-2 - Albert Venter, Rupert Kaminski, Jeremy Freiburghaus, Kristian Krogh Johannessen, Brandon Stone, Tristen Strydom, Connor Syme, Ma Chengyao, Lukas Nemecz, Anton Karlsson, David Ravetto, Lyle Rowe, Luke Jerling, Julien Guerrier, Todd Clements, Luca Filippi 
-1 - Wil Besseling, Shaun Norris, Matthew Southgate, Tapio Pulkkanen, David Law, Jaco Van Zyl, Dylan Naidoo, Jacques P de Villiers, Michael Palmer, Hennie Otto, Stephen Ferreira, Pieter Moolman, Jaco Prinsloo, Daan Huizing, Jeff Winther, Ruan Conradie, Bryce Easton, Joel Stalter Par - Thomas Aiken, Adrian Otaegui, Nacho Elvira, Estiaan Conradie, CJ du Plessis, John Parry, Alejandro Del Rey, Jason Smith, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Jacques Blaauw, Casey Jarvis, Anthony Michael, Herman Loubser, John Axelsen
+1 - Siyanda Mwandla, Gunner Wiebe, JC Ritchie, Freddy Schott, Combrinck Smit, Jens Dantorp, Deon Germishuys, Justin Harding, Adri Arnaus, Dale Whitnell
+2 - Matthieu Pavon, Mateusz Gradecki, Jaco Ahlers, Makhetha Mazibuko, Franklin Manchest 
+3 - Paul Boshoff, Tobias Eden, Callum Mowat, Jean Hugo, Dan Bradbury
+4 - Thanda Mavundla, James Pennington 
+5 - Alexander Levy, Adriel Poonan
+6 - Evance Vukeya, Alex Haindl, Manu Gandas
+9 - Therion Nel
+11 - Tristin Galant
11 March 19:35
British Open champ Buhai reigns supreme in Steenberg to lift fourth SA Women's Open title
South African golfer Ashleigh Buhai kept her cool to seal the Investec SA Women's Open title at Steenberg Golf Club on Saturday.
With an overnight lead of four, Buhai showed her major composure to seal her fourth SA Women's Open title in front of her family and friends.
10 March 18:52
Buhai refuses to be blown off course at SA Women's Open
Ashleigh Buhai’s fighting spirit shone through on Friday when she carded a three-under-par 69 in defiance of the effects of a stomach bug in the third round of the Investec South African Women’s Open Championship at Steenberg Golf Club.
While that paled in comparison with her opening 64 and her second-round 65, the fact that she was able to overcome an opening bogey, make three birdies on the next four holes, and then hang tough in the face of the illness to finally make another birdie on the last hole of the day spoke volumes of her resolve.
It left her four clear of her pursuers ahead of the final round of the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
“There’s a bit of a bug going around this week, and some of the players have got it,” said Buhai.
“Unfortunately, I was one of them and I was up from 02:30 this morning. To get through today and shoot under par is pretty good and I’m very proud of myself.”
That string of 12 consecutive grinding pars from the sixth until the 17th came as her putter, which had been so hot for the first two rounds, cooled down significantly.
She burned the edges enough to keep her interested, and the pars were enough to keep her ahead of Germany’s teenaged Chiara Noja and Spaniard Ana Pelaez Trivino.
Trivino carded a fine six-under-par 66 to climb to her share of third on 14-under through 54 holes, and Noja, who was Buhai’s closest pursuer at halfway, had a closing stretch meltdown of three bogeys in five holes from the 13th to the 17th as she signed for a three-under 69, having shared the lead with Buhai after the 12th hole.
Noja’s downfall seemed to start when she left an eagle putt on 12 just short, and, although she made birdie to draw level with Buhai, she seemed to be too keen to press home what she perceived to be an advantage.
She pulled driver on the par-four 13th, a bold play which seemed destined for trouble when she pushed it right.
“Me trying to carry that bunker is not even an option,” said Buhai of the surprising play by Noja.
“To be honest, if you hit it over that bunker, there’s no space anyway. I hit seven-wood, wedge downwind the way the hole played today, so I don’t really see the play.
“But that was a little opening and then, I thought if I could make my birdie putt there, it could be a two-shot swing. I hit a good putt, but it didn’t drop - story of my day!”
Noja then three-putted for bogey on the 15th, found the greenside bunker on the par-three 17th and was unable to get it up and down from there, and couldn’t make the most of a birdie chance on 18.
“I think I played a lot better than I scored,” said Noja. “Obviously, I’m a little sick and I got a little sloppy and tired. On the back nine, I could really feel it. I was just trying to get across 18 and go to sleep and recover for tomorrow and try to keep myself in contention as much as possible. I’m really gutted that putt on 18 didn’t drop because I hit it and thought it was going in.”
Behind the leading three, last year’s runner-up Magdalena Simmermacher from Argentina showed her class again with a second-consecutive five-under-par 67 taking her to fourth on 13-under.
She was one clear of Alessandra Fanali of Italy, who also signed for a 67, and Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson, who had a 69 to move to nine-under and a share of fifth.
South Africa’s Casandra Alexander parlayed a hole-in-one on the second into a two-under 70 to move into seventh at eight-under and be the second-placed South African.
Next-best of the South Africans was rookie Kaleigh Telfer, who was one shot behind Alexander in a share of eighth on seven-under after she carded a one-under 71.
For Buhai, the chase from Noja was a good bit of practice at focusing on the job at hand in the final round when she sets off in pursuit of her fourth title in her national open championship.
“I like to think the calibre of shots I have will stand me in good stead tomorrow, especially with the wind,” she said.
“She’s a great player. When she came out firing - and so did Maggie - I didn’t have the energy to fight back. It just showed that experience is important, and by staying patient, it definitely paid off.”
- Sunshine Ladies Tour
10 March 18:44
Coetzee hits the front at Centurion Country Club
George Coetzee eased his way into a one-stroke lead in the Mediclinic Invitational with a composed 65 at Centurion Country Club on Friday.
Coetzee heads the field on 20 under par, one stroke clear of Jake Redman who signed for a third round of 64 on Friday.
Stefan Wears-Taylor, Louis Albertse and Ruan Korb are all currently tied for third on 17 under par.
Coetzee was naturally delighted with his round of seven under - his second of the past three rounds - but for a different reason than just what it means for his score.
“I’ve been trying to post a score of seven under every day like my team did last Sunday,” Coetzee said with a reference to his beloved Liverpool Football Club and their 7-0 victory over Manchester United.
His scoring is also testament to just how comfortable he feels on this golf course.
“It’s been a good couple of days and I’m happy with the way things have gone. I basically grew up here, practised here and was coached here for many years. I know the course very well.”
Coetzee has certainly made an art of returning home to local fairways on the Sunshine Tour and winning. Since 2014 there has only been one year - in 2017 - when he has not won at least once on the Sunshine Tour.
“I’m quite fresh mentally and am trying to just stay in the moment this week. That’s all part of the psychology of the game and it’s something I’m always working on. The golf feels solid but I’m not relying on anything specific. I’m just plodding along.”
As much as he’ll be a favourite in the final round, Coetzee is taking nothing for granted against a quality field behind him.
“There is nothing comfortable about leading tournaments. It’s a grind but it’s exciting. You don’t get this opportunity too often in the game and I’m excited to learn and get better at trying to seal the deal.”
- Michael Vlismas
09 March 19:11
Team Buhai soars at SA Women's Open
With her husband on the bag, as he was when she won the title in 2018, a relaxed Ashleigh Buhai posted a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 on Thursday to stretch to a four-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Investec South African Women's Open Championship at Steenberg Golf Club.
The reigning AIG Women’s Open champion missed five of 14 fairways, and hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the serene way she went about her work.
Of course, it helps when you’re putting sublimely, and, with just 26 putts for the second round in a row, once she hit the front, there wasn’t much doubt that she’d be in the lead going into the final two rounds of the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
“It’s always good fun to have Dave on the bag,” Buhai said. “He caddied for me for eight years, no-one knows my game better other than my coach Doug Wood. It’s good when we can do these one-off weeks together every now and then.”
In her first round, she made a bogey, and for her second trip around the course, she managed to minimise errors completely.
“It is always a good day when you have no bogeys, so that’s first things first,” said Buhai, who is taking aim at what would be her fourth national open title.
“My front nine was a little bit of a slow start, and I got a bit unlucky on number five when I hit the flag and it ricocheted all the way back down the green. I stayed patient and then managed to finish birdie-birdie on the front nine.
“The golf course is staying soft, so you can be a bit more aggressive, but the pins were a little bit more tucked today. At the same time, I had to be patient. I felt myself trying to push a little bit and then on seven, I hit it left and I said to myself to just hit it to my spaces and the birdies will come and that’s what I did on the back nine.”
In second place was the German teenager Chiara Noja, who fired a course-record 62 in the first round to top Buhai’s opening 64.
The 16-year-old Noja, who already had a Ladies European Tour title behind her name, was only able to grind out a one-under-par 71 in the second round which she started in heavy early morning rain.
There were four players in a share of third on eight-under-par, including last year’s runner-up Magdalena Simmermacher from who out lost to Lee-Anne Pace in an epic six-hole play-off.
The Argentinean had perhaps the round of the day with her five-under in the very challenging early morning conditions.
Spaniard Ana Pelaez Trivino, who also had a five-under, but much later in the day, Nastasia Nadaud from France, who signed for a two-under 70; and Dutch golfer Romy Meekers, who also carded 70 share third with Simmermacher.
Backing up Buhai’s efforts for South Africa were rookie Kaleigh Telfer and Casandra Alexander.
Telfer was impressive with a bogey-free three-under-par 69, and Alexander, who has won twice on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season, overcame a bogey on the 10th with five birdies on her way to a 68.
They were on six-under for the tournament in a share of sixth.
With the two South Africans were Johanna Gustavsson from Sweden, who had a 72, England’s Gabriella Cowley, who had a 69, and compatriot Lily May Himphreys, who leads the Investec Order of Merit on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after her win in the Joburg Open last week.
Humphreys birdied the final hole for a round of 71. The cut to 60 and ties fell at level-par, leaving a field of 60 professionals and South Africa’s No 1-ranked amateur Kyra van Kan to battle things out over the final 36 holes.
For Buhai, things look pretty rosy with a four-shot lead, but she knows that things can change in the blink of an eye.
“I’ll need to keep doing what I’m doing,” she said. “I will stick to my process and stick to my steps and try and stick to my thoughts that I have in my swing, that’s all I can control and hopefully the outcome will be what we want.”
- Sunshine Tour
09 March 18:53
Moolman in four-way tie for lead in Centurion
Pieter Moolman continued his good form of the past few weeks and claimed a share of a four-way tie for the lead through 36 holes of the Mediclinic Invitational at Centurion Country Club on Thursday.
Moolman signed for a 64 to join Ruan Korb (63), James Mack (64) and Ryan van Velzen (64) on 14 under par.
The quartet are one stroke clear of George Coetzee, with a group of five players further back on 11 under par including first-round leader Jake Redman and Dylan Naidoo.
Moolman's consistency over the past few weeks has seen him finish 14th, ninth, third and 28th in his last four tournaments.
It's been the kind of consistency that has lifted him into eighth place on the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca Rankings, and which has suggested he isn't too far from adding to his Fortress Invitational victory on the Sunshine Tour last year.
Moolman’s 64 on Thursday was also a perfect case of the vagaries of golf where his exceptional putting helped when his ball-striking was not what he would’ve liked it to be.
“I don’t feel like I’m hitting the ball as well as I’d like to, but I’m making more putts and that’s helping a lot. In this game, I believe if you are making all of your putts inside 10 feet and are just an average ball striker, you are capable of being in the top 30 in the world,” he said.
The consistency of his past performances is also not lost on Moolman.
“I think that’s all you want as a professional golfer, is to just have a chance. You just want to have that chance to be in contention and to win a tournament. I feel like I’ve been playing really well and my game is good enough that when the putts drop I can win. That’s all I’m trying to do - is to give myself a chance to win every week I play. If I can combine how I putted today and how I struck the ball at a tournament a few weeks ago, I’ll shoot great scores.”
Moolman says he foresees the low scoring to continue over the final two rounds.
“I find the golf course quite scoreable. If you look at the whole field the scoring is really good.”
- Michael Vlismas
(Picture: Pieter Moolman - Gallo Images)
08 March 20:46
Fast finish gives Redman the lead in Centurion
Jake Redman finished with an eagle and two birdies for a 64 that earned him a one-shot lead after the first round of the Sunshine Tour’s Mediclinic Invitational at Centurion Country Club on Wednesday.
Redman’s opening round of eight under par put him one clear of the group of George Coetzee, Dylan Naidoo, Luke Brown, Trevor Fisher Jnr. and Keagan Thomas.
“It’s been a while since I’ve gone quite low and I’m very happy with the way things went,” said Redman, who certainly enjoyed the Centurion Country Club course.
“It’s a nice estate golf course. There are one or two demanding tee shots, but you can’t be too unhappy with the golf course shooting eight under par. I didn’t hit myself into any trouble and kept the ball in play.”
Teeing off the 10th, Redman admits the 64 caught even him by surprise as he came through 15 holes on four under par.
“It felt like it came a bit out of nowhere. I didn’t make many putts over the first 15 holes, which was frustrating. But I was also hitting it quite close. Then I came to the last three holes and made a huge putt on the par-five seventh hole for eagle, a long putt for birdie on eight and then on in two for a birdie at the last. All round, the game was solid and I’m happy with the way things went today.
“It’s been frustrating not to shoot a really low round because I’ve put myself in a good position to do so before. So it was nice to get it done today. When I was four under through 15 I felt like I could’ve been eight or nine under then already. So it was nice to get that reward at the end of it.”
With three rounds still to go, Redman is not getting ahead of himself. But it is a timely point in the season to hit good form, with two big DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournaments to come this month in the SDC Championship and the Jonsson Workwear Open.
“We’ve got some good opportunities to come over the next few weeks, but I’m taking it one step at a time.”
– Michael Vlismas
64 - Jake Redman
65 - George Coetzee, Dylan Naidoo, Luke Brown, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Keagan Thomas
66 - Merrick Bremner, Pieter Moolman, Kyle Barker, Louis Albertse, Robin Williams, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Ryan Van Velzen, Jacques Blaauw, Jared Harvey, James Mack
67 - Coert Groenewald, Christiaan Burke, Wynand Dingle, Albert Venter, Ockie Strydom, CJ du Plessis, Sean Cronje, Ruan Korb, Rhys West, Gerrit Foster
68 - Christiaan Basson, Martin Rohwer, Yurav Premlall, Slenda Sithebe, Martin Vorster, Andre De Decker, Ulrich van den Berg, Rupert Kaminski, Jacquin Hess, Musiwalo Nethunzwi
69 - Keegan Mclachlan, Leon Vorster, Fredrik From, James Kamte, Luca Filippi, Jaco Van Zyl, Kyle McClatchie, Jacques P de Villiers, Therion Nel, Erhard Lambrechts, Aneurin Gounden, Pierre Pellegrin, Reinhardt Blaauw, Bradley Bawden, Combrinck Smit, Jake Roos, Samuel Simpson, Wade Jacobs
70 - Hayden Griffiths, Gerard du Plooy, Anton Karlsson, Keelan Africa, Gerhard Pepler, Lindani Ndwandwe, Malcolm Mitchell, Richard Joubert, Siyanda Mwandla, Tristin Galant, Luke Jerling, Haydn Porteous, Michael Hollick, Callum Mowat, Clayton Mansfield, Steven Le Roux, Franklin Manchest, Allister de Kock, Dean O'Riley
71 - Dion Fourie, Irvin Mazibuko, Chris Swanepoel, Philip Eriksson, Evance Vukeya, Heinrich Bruiners, Lyle Rowe, Jean Hugo, Hennie Otto, Thanda Mavundla, Nicholaus Frade, Andre Van Dyk, DK Kim, Mark Maart, Sentanio Minnie, Anthony Michael, Hennie O'Kennedy, Steve Surry, Ruan Conradie, Keelan van Wyk, Jovan Rebula
72 - Harry Konig, Riekus Nortje, Michael Palmer, Jean-Paul Strydom, Chris Cannon, John Bele, Karabo Mokoena, Shalan Govender, Toto Thimba Jnr, Thabang Simon, Alex Haindl, Dayne Moore, Paul Boshoff
73 - Omar Sandys, Clinton Grobler, Doug McGuigan, Sean Bradley, Matias Calderon, Matthew Spacey, Thabiso Ngcobo, Dan Erickson, Danie Van Niekerk, Makhetha Mazibuko, Madalitso Muthiya, Henning du Plooy, Shaahid Mahmed, Mandla Dlamini Jnr, Maverick Faber, James Pennington
74 - Adam Breen, Ricky Hendler, Peter Karmis, Mike Maile, Ruan de Smidt, Clancy Waugh, Tumelo Molloyi, Vaughn van Deventer, Peetie van der Merwe, Jason Smith
75 - Stephen Ferreira, Joshua Seale, Adriel Poonan, Wallie Coetsee, Michael Kok
76 - Herman Loubser, Lincon Denzy Cele, Nikhil Rama, SP Mthethwa
77 - Quintin Wilsnach, Jastice Mashego, Ricco Motsa
78 - Alphius Kelapile, Dwayne Basson
79 - Sipho Bujela
81 - Brandon Moodley
82 - Mohammad Rauf Mandhu
83 - Boeta Nasie, Byron van der Merwe, Brandon-Jude Rennie
84 - Lwazi Gqira, Gerard Moodley
85 - Sandy Makume
26 February 16:56
Dylan Mostert birdied the last to win the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship by a single stroke at Humewood Golf Club on Sunday, and earn his second Sunshine Tour title and his first on the European Challenge Tour.
Mostert stood over a three-metre birdie putt on the final green that he needed to separate himself from fellow South African Jaco Prinsloo, whose storming 62 had earned him the clubhouse lead on 15 under par.
And Mostert took the words of his sports psychologist to heart as he rolled in the putt for a final round of 67 and victory on 16 under par.
“We spent a lot of time talking before this tournament and the main message was for me to just stay calm. My mental game definitely got me through this week. That’s what won me the golf tournament,” said Mostert after a solid final round performance in gusting conditions.
“I was so relieved when I holed that birdie putt to win. It was a grind the whole week with the wind. The golf course was difficult for me. But once you taste victory like this you just want more of it. To be a two-time winner is a great achievement for me.
”Mostert will now continue his journey on the Challenge Tour as he chases a new goal of gaining a DP World Tour card.
“Winning is hard, and this is such a relief. The standard of golf on the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour is so good. All the golfers out here are hungry and want to win and move to the next level in their careers.
"I’m definitely going to play Challenge Tour events this year. Casey Jarvis and I will tour together, and the main goal is to get that DP World Tour card, so I’ll put my head down and go for that."
Ireland’s Ruaidhri McGee (64), Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise (68), Frenchman Tom Vaillant (71) and South African JJ Senekal (70) shared third place on 14 under par.
This was the final event of the four-tournament South African Swing between the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour, with Southern African golfers making a clean sweep.
Zimbabwean Benjamin Follett-Smith won the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open followed by South Africa’s Oliver Bekker winning the Dimension Data Pro-Am, JJ Senekal winning the SDC Open and now Mostert winning in Gqeberha. – Michael Vlismas
272 - Dylan Mostert 68 68 69 67
273 - Jaco Prinsloo 66 70 75 62
274 - Ruaidhri McGee 66 74 70 64, Lorenzo Scalise 66 71 69 68, JJ Senekal 66 67 71 70, Tom Vaillant 66 64 73 71
275 - Jamie Rutherford 68 69 71 67, Clement Berardo 73 66 69 67
276 - Borja Virto 68 70 74 64, Wynand Dingle 69 69 69 69, Jeppe Kristian Andersen 72 68 67 69, Bradley Bawden 70 69 67 70, Brandon Stone 67 70 68 71, Dan Erickson 68 70 67 71, Josh Hilleard 68 71 66 71
277 - David Boote 71 69 70 67, Ashley Chesters 68 70 71 68, OJ Farrell 69 69 70 69, Hennie O'Kennedy 69 70 66 72
278 - Javier Sainz 66 71 76 65, Robin Petersson 71 68 73 66, Michael Stewart 70 70 72 66, Hennie Otto 70 70 70 68, Lyle Rowe 68 71 70 69, Casey Jarvis 66 73 70 69, Ugo Coussaud 65 74 69 70, Henric Sturehed 65 70 72 71
279 - Pieter Moolman 64 72 78 65, Marc Hammer 69 69 74 67, Keagan Thomas 72 67 73 67, Craig Howie 65 71 75 68, Stefan Wears-Taylor 67 73 71 68, Joel Sjoholm 70 69 71 69, Anton Karlsson 67 69 73 70, Ivan Cantero 69 71 69 70, Alex Haindl 70 67 69 73, Jared Harvey 70 68 68 73, James Hart du Preez 66 74 66 73
280 - Benjamin Rusch 66 73 74 67, Fredrik From 69 70 73 68, Ruan Conradie 68 69 74 69, Sam Bairstow 66 71 74 69, Daniel O'Loughlin 68 71 72 69, Christopher Mivis 68 72 69 71, Stuart Manley 70 66 72 72
281 - Rhys Enoch 69 70 74 68, Steven Brown 69 66 74 72, Jean Hugo 67 71 71 72, Trevor Fisher Jnr 66 74 69 72, Doug McGuigan 67 73 68 73
282 - Andrea Pavan 71 67 78 66, Victor Riu 69 70 77 66, Chris Paisley 69 71 74 68, Jbe' Kruger 67 71 74 70, Joel Girrbach 69 70 73 70, Jaco Van Zyl 72 68 72 70, Yan Wei Liu 67 72 71 72, Liam Johnston 67 71 71 73, Adam Blomme 63 70 74 75
283 - Manuel Elvira 66 72 77 68, Anthony Michael 65 75 73 70, Ryan Van Velzen 67 70 74 72
284 - Robin Williams 67 70 76 71285 - Adilson Da Silva 68 71 77 69, Jaco Ahlers 68 69 78 70, Lucas Vacarisas 68 72 75 70, Gary Boyd 70 68 72 75
286 - Alfie Plant 67 71 78 70, Luca Filippi 66 72 75 73289 - Martin Vorster 69 68 79 73
25 February 23:00
A Vaillant effort to still lead in Humewood wind
The wind arrived at Humewood Golf Club on Saturday, and it shook up the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship leaderboard like a three-legged washing machine on full spin cycle.
Frenchman Tom Vaillant did well to hold on to his overnight lead with a fighting 73 for a total of 13-under par in third-round conditions which Humewood General Manager Brendon Timm described as "a day when the birds walk rather than fly".
"It felt like the wind was 100km/h in my head. I just tried to fight as much as possible. It was some of the toughest conditions I've ever played in. I just fought as hard as I could. In this wind you don’t have to try and make birdies. You're just trying to keep the ball safe," said the battle-weary Frenchman.
"The final round will just be me against the golf course and the conditions. It's my first year on tour and I know I can win. I'll try and do my best."
Vaillant's nearest challenger is South Africa’s JJ Senekal on 12-under par following his 71, and he's looking for back-to-back wins on this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour South African Swing.
"The front nine played ridiculously hard. The first six holes are brutal straight into the wind. You're hitting driver and seven iron and driver and five iron into every hole there. It's a brutal start to the golf course in this wind. But I'm in a good spot one shot back," said Senekal.
And then South Africa's Hennie O'Kennedy, Brandon Stone and Dylan Mostert as well as Englishman Josh Hilleard and American Dan Erickson are lined up on 11 under.
"I think that's the best round of three under par I've ever shot in my life," said Mostert following his 69.
"On the 15th I had a putt that I'd read as a cup outside on the left, and I aimed a ball right because of the wind, and I still missed it on the left."
As tough as it was, the likes of O'Kennedy still made six consecutive birdies over the turn; Stone birdied three of his final four holes; Hilleard holed out for eagle on the par-four ninth and then added another eagle on the 11th; Senekal had an eagle and two birdies on a tough back nine; and Vaillant birdied two of his final four holes.
The Humewood locals were pleased. They'd come to see just how the Sunshine Tour's finest handle the wind that batters their regular league matches on this historic links. And they nodded their approval.
- Michael Vlismas
24 February 21:55
Senekal chasing more glory at Humewood
South Africa’s JJ Senekal is hunting back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour as he heads into the weekend of the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship just three strokes off the lead at Humewood Golf Club.
Senekal won last week's SDC Open in wire-to-wire fashion and has carried that form to Humewood, with a second round of 67 on Friday lifting him to 11-under par and chasing the 14-under par lead held by Frenchman Tom Vaillant following his 64.
Swede Adam Blommé also came through 36 holes on 11-under following a 70 on Friday.
"I'm just riding the momentum of last week," said Senekal as he looked forward to another strong weekend of being in contention.
After his victory last week Senekal took up membership of the Challenge Tour, and seeing his name in third place on their Road to Mallorca rankings has certainly inspired him.
"That's when the victory kind of really sunk in for me. Now it's a case of putting my foot on the gas and seeing if I can win three of them this season and get to the DP World Tour, or end as high as I can to get that DP World Tour card," he said.
Friday's stiff breeze had a few Humewood locals nodding their heads in approval, but the scoring was still impressive and Frenchman Vaillant set the clubhouse target of 14 under with his 64 in the morning.
"I'm quite comfortable on a links course," said Vaillant. "My style of play is to just hit my target and not be too aggressive, and that's what you have to do on links golf courses. It was great. I hit almost all of my targets and it helped me to go low."
Senekal also felt the sharper focus Friday's wind brought to his game.
"I played solid and made a couple of long putts. It was tougher out there with the wind but I kept my composure pretty well after I made a double bogey on the par-three sixth and then came back strong with an eagle and made my day worthwhile at the end. The wind protects this golf course and you need the wind for it to play to its true potential. Today was a good show of that."
And it's set him up for a tantalising weekend of possibly more success.
"Last week I was protecting a lead. This time I can go and chase it. On this golf course anything can happen quickly. Hopefully I can put another good round together and then have a shot on Sunday."
- Michael Vlismas
23 February 19:17
Blommé blossoms at windless Humewood with 63
Sweden’s Adam Blommé uses his words with the same precision as a scalpel as he describes the course strategy that earned him a 63 and the first-round lead in the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship at Humewood Golf Club on Thursday.
“Keep the ball in play. Hit greens. Make putts. Nothing new," he said after the round.
His round of nine under par puts him one stroke clear of South Africa’s Pieter Moolman, with the quartet of South African Anthony Michael, Frenchman Ugo Coussaud, Scotland’s Craig Howie, England’s Jack Singh Brar and Swede Henric Sturehed all well placed on seven under par in this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
And then Blommé adds, “No links shots whatsoever today”.
That was the most telling comment on day one of this tournament on South Africa’s most historic links golf course. Blommé took full advantage of the ideal conditions and the lack of wind to entrench his number one status on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca standings, and confirm his good form coming into this event.
“We were lucky with the draw. There was no wind out there in the morning,” he said on a day when one of his playing partners, Ireland’s Conor Purcell, remarked that it was hard to believe his own round of five under par was the worst score in their group.
“This course is built for wind. We need the wind to pick up to make it challenging. I wouldn’t mind a bit of wind to be honest,” said Moolman.
The first round certainly rewarded the in-form golfers in what is the fourth and final event on the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour’s South African Swing.
Blommé has finished second and tied seventh in his last two tournaments in South Africa. Behind him, Moolman has finished no worse than 14th in his last three tournaments. And in the group on seven under, Coussaud has finished no worse than 13th in his previous three tournaments in South Africa.
When you consider that further back on six under par lies JJ Senekal, last week’s SDC Open champion, and Casey Jarvis, who has finished in the top-10 in his last two tournaments, then it will take something to separate a group of golfers all playing very well at present.
– Michael Vlismas
63 - Adam Blomme
64 - Pieter Moolman
65 - Anthony Michael, Craig Howie, Ugo Coussaud, Jack Singh Brar, Henric Sturehed
66 - James Hart du Preez, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Casey Jarvis, JJ Senekal, Lorenzo Scalise, Javier Sainz, Ruaidhri McGee, Tom Vaillant, Luca Filippi, Benjamin Rusch, Manuel Elvira, Jaco Prinsloo, Sam Bairstow
67 - Jean Hugo, Yan Wei Liu, Liam Johnston, Niklas Regner, Alfie Plant, Brandon Stone, Conor Purcell, Kyle McClatchie, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Malcolm Mitchell, Robin Williams, Ryan Van Velzen, Doug McGuigan, Jbe' Kruger, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Anton Karlsson, Gerard du Plooy
68 - Lyle Rowe, Dan Erickson, Lucas Vacarisas, Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon, Borja Virto, Jamie Rutherford, James Kamte, Combrinck Smit, Kyle Barker, James Allan, Daniel O'Loughlin, Jaco Ahlers, Josh Hilleard, Jannik de Bruyn, Mikael Lundberg, Dylan Mostert, Christopher Mivis, Ruan Conradie, Elias Bertheussen, Adilson Da Silva, Eduard Rousaud, Ashley Chesters, Luke Brown, Tom Murray
69 - Joe Long, Ruan Korb, Gregorio De Leo, Yurav Premlall, Jean-Paul Strydom, Steven Brown, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez, Dylan Naidoo, Chris Paisley, Jacques Blaauw, Martin Vorster, Victor Riu, Nikhil Rama, Erhard Lambrechts, Marc Hammer, Wynand Dingle, Frederik Birkelund, Rhys Enoch, Joel Girrbach, Velten Meyer, OJ Farrell, Hennie O'Kennedy, Fredrik From
70 - Rupert Kaminski, Lars van Meijel, Christopher Feldborg, Paul Dunne, Gary Boyd, Danie Van Niekerk, Michael Palmer, Hennie Otto, Alex Haindl, Joel Sjoholm, Wilco Nienaber, Stuart Manley, Michael Stewart, Jared Harvey, Michael Hirmer, Stephen Ferreira, Richard Joubert, Christiaan Burke, Bradley Bawden
71 - Tristen Strydom, Luke Jerling, Steven Tiley, Philip Eriksson, Heinrich Bruiners, Julien Sale, Andrea Pavan, Victor Pastor, Robin Petersson, Zander Lombard, David Boote, Oscar Lengden, Toby Tree, Louis Albertse, Rhys West
72 - Paul Boshoff, Callan Barrow, Siyanda Mwandla, Keith Horne, Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Jean Bekirian, Adam Breen, Neil Schietekat, Matthew Spacey, Madalitso Muthiya, Jaco Van Zyl, Victor Garcia Broto, Marco Penge, Keagan Thomas, Steven Le Roux, Oliver Lindell, Jeppe Kristian Andersen
73 - Clayton Mansfield, Antoine Pouguet, Felix Mory, Aneurin Gounden, Estiaan Conradie, Jacquin Hess, Haydn Porteous, Clement Berardo, Keenan Davidse
74 - Tumelo Molloyi, Jonathan Thomson, Pavan Sagoo, Joachim B. Hansen
75 - Ruan de Smidt, Sebastian Friedrichsen, Tristin Galant, Jacques P de Villiers
76 - Karabo Mokoena, Herman Loubser, Sean Bradley, Pierre Pineau
19 February 18:58
Senekal enjoys wire-to-wire win in SDC Open
As JJ Senekal drove to the Zebula golf course for Sunday’s final round of the SDC Open, his new favourite playlist was on the car radio.
The volume was turned up to 21. That's when he decided to turn it up to 25 to match his desired target of 25 under par to win this tournament.
A few hours later, Senekal rolled in a birdie putt on the 18th to win this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour tournament with a final round of 65 and by four strokes. On 25 under par.
“It was very emotional. I put a lot of hard work into this, starting from the beginning of last year. It all comes down to hard work. This means the world to me. I was knocking for quite a while now and this week was a good example of staying patient, playing good golf and knowing what to do and when to do it,” Senekal said after his wire-to-wire victory.
Casey Jarvis took second place on 21 under par with a closing 67, and the young South African threw everything at Senekal during a thrilling back nine in which he chipped in for eagle on the 15th and then holed a huge birdie putt on 16 to close to within one shot of Senekal with two holes to play.
But the par-three 17th proved the differentiator as Senekal birdied the hole, and Jarvis made bogey after missing the green with his tee shot. That gave Senekal a three-shot lead playing the 18th.
“Keeping Casey off my back was hard. Well done to him. He played an unbelievable round of golf. He really chased me down on the back nine. He started firing over the last few holes, but I did what I needed to and hit some good golf shots,” said Senekal.
But even with a three-shot lead, Senekal delivered an incredible approach that left him with a two-foot putt for birdie on the 18th.
“It was a big relief. I thought I’d hit it short, but once you see the ball next to the hole and you know you’ve got a three-shot lead and are tapping in for birdie, it’s all the pressure off your shoulders. It feels amazing. It’s been five years since my last win. To finally get it done is a great feeling.”
Senekal also won himself a 20-year Zebula Holiday Villa Share worth R320 000.
- Michael Vlismas
18 February 22:26
Senekal stays in front at SDC Open despite putter woes
JJ Senekal held on to his place at the top of the SDC Open leaderboard as he weathered a cold putter, intermittent rain and a few surges from his fellow professionals to place him two shots clear of the field going into Sunday’s final round at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
Senekal signed for a third round of 69 to lead on 18 under par. His nearest challenger is Casey Jarvis on 16 under following his round of 66.
Jaco Prinsloo and Martin Vorster are both three shots off the lead after their rounds of 66 and 68 respectively.
At 14:00, play was stopped for a minute’s silence in remembrance of former DP World Tour Chief Referee, John Paramo, who passed away last Friday at the age of 67.
Senekal has led from day one of this tournament and been remarkably composed despite the frustration of not always having his best putting game with him.
“It wasn’t the best round of golf I’ve ever played. From tee to green it was pretty good, but 32 putts was frustrating. I hit good putts here and there but the reading wasn’t very good. I gave myself a lot of opportunities but the putter just wasn’t working,” he said after a round of four birdies and one bogey.
“I was expecting people to charge and they did. Casey had a good round. But I managed to keep myself in it and I’ve got a shot tomorrow.”
Jarvis produced another strong charge to be in contention once again this season.
After his eagle on the 15th he didn’t get the finish he wanted as he bogeyed two of his final three holes when the rain suddenly came down again.
“I played really solid the whole day and I rolled in a lot of putts. The way I’m striking the ball I feel really in control of my game at the moment. I’ve been in this position before so hopefully I’ve learnt from the past. I’ve just got to stay patient. In the past I’ve been a little rushed, but I’ve just got to stay patient out there,” he said as he looks forward to a possible maiden victory on the Sunshine Tour.
Patience will certainly be the theme for the final group, with the more experienced Senekal taking the same approach.
“You just have to stay in the moment. If you’re not nervous you’re not ready. There is obviously pressure but you have to keep it under control and not get ahead of yourself. I’m very excited to be in the final group again and I have a shot at the title. That’s always exciting.” – Michael Vlismas
17 February 18:36
Senekal holds on to SDC Open lead
JJ Senekal retained his place at the top of the SDC Open leaderboard with a second round of 67 which earned him a four-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
Senekal leads the field on 15 under par, with fellow South African Martin Vorster his nearest challenger on 11 under par following a 69 on Friday. Casey Jarvis, Alfie Plant, Combrinck Smit, Estiaan Conradie and Victor Pastor are all lined up on 10 under par.
Senekal was two strokes clear after the first round thanks to his opening 62, and he had set himself a target of another low round on Friday.
“I had a target of eight under today, but I mean, five under is still a good round of golf around here,” he said.
He made another fast start with two birdies in his first three holes to suggest he may well post another low round. But the cooler weather and intermittent rain that moved over the course seemed to match the cooling of his putter.
“After that good start I really thought I could go low again today. But it died down after that and the putter went cold over the last 10 holes. I didn’t make a thing. I hit two close iron shots that gave me the opportunity for a birdie and eagle but that was it. I didn’t make anything inside 10 feet after that. I’m actually quite disappointed with the putting performance on the back nine, but I’m in a good position for the weekend.”
It was the opposite for his nearest challenger Vorster. The young star finds himself in contention for the second time on this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned stretch of events. He finished fourth in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open two weeks ago, and this week he’s felt that his putter has kept him in the chase.
“I’m pretty happy considering how I hit the ball today. The swing has been a bit up and down and I haven’t been hitting the ball as well as the last few weeks. But my short game has been the best it has been so I feel comfortable around the greens. The putter was great and I made a few good putts for pars.”
– Michael Vlismas
129 - JJ Senekal 62 67
133 - Martin Vorster 64 69
134 - Casey Jarvis 68 66, Alfie Plant 67 67, Combrinck Smit 69 65, Estiaan Conradie 67 67, Victor Pastor 65 69
135 - Tom Murray 68 67, Victor Garcia Broto 65 70, Herman Loubser 65 70, Bradley Bawden 69 66, Jaco Prinsloo 68 67
136 - Lorenzo Scalise 67 69, Craig Howie 69 67, Ugo Coussaud 68 68, Clement Berardo 68 68
137 - Luke Brown 71 66, Adam Blomme 69 68, Oliver Lindell 70 67, Keagan Thomas 70 67, Mikael Lundberg 68 69, Pieter Moolman 70 67, Francesco Laporta 71 66, Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon 68 69, Malcolm Mitchell 72 65, Ashley Chesters 68 69, Pierre Pineau 68 69, Marco Penge 68 69, Manuel Elvira 69 68, Jamie Rutherford 68 69
138 - Kyle McClatchie 72 66, Stuart Manley 67 71, Louis Albertse 71 67, Hennie O'Kennedy 69 69, Ruan Korb 71 67, Niklas Regner 70 68, Jacques P de Villiers 71 67, Matteo Manassero 68 70, Jacques Kruyswijk 69 69, Tristen Strydom 71 67, Danie Van Niekerk 67 71, Borja Virto 70 68
139 - Christopher Feldborg Nielsen 69 70, OJ Farrell 70 69, Benjamin Rusch 72 67, Jonathan Thomson 69 70, Nicolai Kristensen 70 69, Felix Mory 72 67, Jeppe Kristian Andersen 70 69, Luca Filippi 71 68, Lucas Vacarisas 70 69, Javier Sainz 70 69, Brandon Stone 71 68, Steven Brown 71 68, Joel Sjoholm 69 70, Christopher Mivis 70 69
140 - Liam Johnston 72 68, Anton Karlsson 72 68, Henric Sturehed 70 70, Chris Paisley 68 72, Alvaro Quiros 67 73, Velten Meyer 70 70, Benjamin Follett-Smith 70 70, CJ du Plessis 74 66, Ryan Van Velzen 73 67, James Allan 69 71, Gregorio De Leo 70 70, Alex Haindl 70 70
16 February 18:39
Senekal’s ‘Full Swing’ at 62 to lead SDC Open
Before Thursday’s first round of the SDC Open at the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa, JJ Senekal watched an episode of the new Netflix golf documentary, “Full Swing”.
In it Major champion Brooks Koepka verbalised exactly what Senekal felt as he went on to open with a 10-under-par 62 and lead this tournament.
“Koepka spoke about how within the first couple of holes of your round you know if it’s on or not. That’s what happened to me over the first five holes today. I knew it was on,” said Senekal as he played his way to seven birdies, two eagles and one bogey for a two-stroke lead over fellow South African Martin Vorster.
Herman Loubser is also well-placed three shots off the lead.
Senekal’s first five holes certainly gave him confirmation of a good day coming as he teed off the 10th and played them in three under par. Then came an eagle on the par-five 15th and a birdie on the par-four 16th that was impressive enough to even get a few wildebeest to lift their heads from their grazing.
“It was a hot start. I felt I needed that eagle on 15 if I wanted to get a low round going. Then I eagled my 11th hole (the par-five second) and I knew I was in for a good round.”
A lapse in concentration and the wrong club selection led to a bogey on his 12th hole, but three birdies coming home quickly sorted that out. Senekal has been waiting for this round amidst a season of remarkable consistency that has been highlighted by a sixth-place finish in November’s Joburg Open and then 14th in the recent Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open and sixth in last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am.
It came on Thursday on a golf course he’s always loved since he made his amateur debut for South Africa here 16 years ago in a Test against England, playing against the same Ashley Chesters who was his professional playing partner on Thursday.
“I’ve been knocking on the door for quite a while. With the results I’ve had in the past four months I knew there was a low round in there somewhere, and here she is.”
Senekal finished seventh in last year’s SDC Open and clearly enjoys this bushveld layout.
“I like tree-lined golf courses because of the targeting it gives you. You have to be straight off the tee here and I think I got that right. You have to keep it in play here and it’s soft enough at the moment where you can fire at flags. You just need to stay patient and there are a lot of birdies out there.”
– Michael Vlismas
62 - JJ Senekal
64 - Martin Vorster
65 - Victor Garcia Broto, Herman Loubser, Victor Pastor
67 - Alvaro Quiros, Hennie Otto, Danie Van Niekerk, Stuart Manley, Jack Singh Brar, Michael Palmer, Lorenzo Scalise, Alfie Plant, Estiaan Conradie, Yan Wei Liu, Daniel O'Loughlin
68 - Koen Kouwenaar, Ashley Chesters, Jaco Prinsloo, Pierre Pineau, Chris Paisley, Matteo Manassero, Marco Penge, Ugo Coussaud, Clement Berardo, Jamie Rutherford, Tom Murray, Casey Jarvis, Rhys Enoch, Mikael Lundberg, Dylan Naidoo, Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon
69 - Bradley Bawden, Jacques Kruyswijk, Ruan Conradie, Joel Sjoholm, Manuel Elvira, Joe Long, Trevor Fisher Jnr, James Allan, Frederik Birkelund, Adam Blomme, Heinrich Bruiners, Christopher Feldborg Nielsen, Jonathan Thomson, Craig Howie, Toby Tree, Hennie O'Kennedy, Combrinck Smit, Fredrik From, Gerard du Plooy, Thabang Simon
70 - Lucas Vacarisas, Elias Bertheussen, Benjamin Poke, Javier Sainz, Henric Sturehed, Velten Meyer, Oscar Lengden, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Jared Harvey, Luke Jerling, Gregorio De Leo, Christopher Mivis, Borja Virto, Alex Haindl, Sam Bairstow, Oliver Lindell, Keagan Thomas, OJ Farrell, Nicolai Kristensen, Pieter Moolman, Niklas Regner, Jeppe Kristian Andersen
71 - Dean O'Riley, Divan van den Heever, Jacques P de Villiers, Philip Eriksson, Nikhil Rama, Clancy Waugh, Steven Tiley, Lars van Meijel, Oliver Farr, Tristen Strydom, Andrea Pavan, Brandon Stone, Steven Brown, Conor Purcell, James Kamte, Erhard Lambrechts, Luke Brown, Louis Albertse, David Drysdale, Francesco Laporta, Robin Petersson, Tom Vaillant, Ruan Korb, Luca Filippi, Samuel Simpson
72 - Toto Thimba Jnr, Rupert Kaminski, Dylan Mostert, Merrick Bremner, Victor Riu, Sean Bradley, Wade Jacobs, Kyle McClatchie, Gary Boyd, Eduard Rousaud, Benjamin Rusch, Liam Johnston, Felix Mory, James Hart du Preez, Malcolm Mitchell, Anton Karlsson, Richard Joubert
73 - Keenan Davidse, Joachim B. Hansen, Anthony Michael, Ryan Van Velzen, Chris Swanepoel, Matthew Spacey, Sebastian Friedrichsen, Derek Ackerman, Michael Stewart, David Boote, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez, Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Jaco Van Zyl, Doug McGuigan, Madalitso Muthiya, Jannik de Bruyn
74 - Chris Cannon, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Pavan Sagoo, Dan Erickson, Lucas Bjerregaard, CJ du Plessis, Marc Hammer, Wynand Dingle, Shaahid Mahmed, Jacques Blaauw, Kyle Barker, Ruaidhri McGee, Martin Rohwer
75 - Lyle Rowe, Stephen Ferreira, Joel Girrbach
76 - Stefan Wears-Taylor, Jean Hugo, Jastice Mashego, Keelan Africa
77 - Andre De Decker
79 - Franklin Manchest, Kristoffer Reitan
84 - Callan Barrow
12 February 18:54
Bekker wins second Dimension Data Pro-Am title
Oliver Bekker claimed his second Dimension Data Pro-Am title in a dominant display at Fancourt on Sunday as he won by four shots in front of his home crowd.
Bekker took a five-shot lead into the final round and closed with a measured 68 on the Montagu course to win on 22 under par overall. Sweden’s Adam Blomme took second place on 18 under par with a final round of 66.
Bekker first won this title in 2012 and is now only the third player since the tournament’s inception in 1996 to win the Dimension Data Pro-Am twice, joining Nick Price (1997 and 1998) and Darren Fichardt (2004 and 2010).
“When you start with such a big lead it’s almost a relief that you didn’t waste it. It’s amazing to be here in front of my family and friends. It’s not often you play a golf tournament and you’ve got a hundred people following you and you know almost all of them. I’m just elated,” said Bekker.
On another magnificent day on the Garden Route, Bekker parred his way through the first seven holes before his first birdie of the final round on the par-three eighth hole. He added four more birdies on the back nine, and could afford a single bogey, to put himself well and truly beyond reach.
Hennie O’Kennedy came storming through the field with a bogey-free round of 65 to finish on 16 under par, and Frenchman Ugo Coussaud tried to make a contest of it with a sublime 63 to finish on 14 under. But Bekker had done more than enough to keep himself beyond any serious challenge.
“I did watch the scoreboard quite a bit and played rather safe. I didn’t try to be too aggressive and make any unforced errors. The course was there for the taking today, but I didn’t want to disappoint anybody and still go out there and put together a good final round.”
267 - Oliver Bekker 67 68 64 68
271 - Adam Blomme 66 67 72 66
273 - Hennie O'Kennedy 72 65 71 65, Chris Paisley 71 70 66 66
274 - Brandon Stone 69 68 70 67
275 - Ugo Coussaud 72 69 71 63, JJ Senekal 67 73 68 67, Conor Purcell 70 66 71 68
276 - Yurav Premlall 72 71 68 65, Alvaro Quiros 67 71 70 68, Pieter Moolman 73 67 68 68, Casey Jarvis 64 76 69 67, Wilco Nienaber 70 68 69 69
277 - Frederic Lacroix 70 72 67 68, Louis Albertse 70 69 68 70, Adam Breen 67 68 72 70, Craig Howie 69 70 68 70, Jean Hugo 66 74 67 70
278 - Lars van Meijel 70 75 67 66, Rhys Enoch 70 71 70 67, Kyle Barker 69 66 72 71, Tom Murray 71 66 69 72
279 - Joel Sjoholm 73 68 69 69, Ruaidhri McGee 66 73 70 70, Javier Sainz 69 68 72 70, Garrick Porteous 72 66 71 70, Felix Mory 70 71 68 70
280 - Clement Berardo 71 70 70 69, Michael Palmer 71 73 66 70, Nicolai Kristensen 74 68 67 71, Renato Paratore 72 68 70 70, Joel Girrbach 73 65 68 74, Manuel Elvira 69 66 70 75
- Michael Vlismas Media.
(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
11 February 20:25
Oliver hungry for more Dimension Data Pro-Am glory
Oliver Bekker has clearly felt comfortable in his hometown this week and is looking very much at home at the top of the leaderboard as he takes a five-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt.
A 64 on the Outeniqua course on Saturday lifted Bekker to 18 under par overall and on track to add to his 2012 victory in this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour event.
The South African’s nearest challenger is countryman Luke Jerling on 13 under par following his 71 on the Montagu course.
Bekker, now a DP World Tour campaigner, decided to return to the Sunshine Tour this week to enjoy the privilege of playing a tournament where he can sleep in his own bed and have his family with him.
“You don’t get to do that too often. It’s great to have that family time, and I also have a lot of local support here. It’s a special event for me,” said Bekker.
Bekker took full advantage of another perfect day in George and an Outeniqua golf course that is the most forgiving of the three courses here at Fancourt used for this tournament.
“Outeniqua is a very scoreable golf course and it was nice to do just that. I played well and it was nice to hole a few putts on the back nine. I gave myself a lot of opportunities. All in all it was a very good day. I knew my golf was good and that if I could get a few putts in today I would get a low one.”
Bekker was most pleased with being able to make his move on the weekend after he’d worked his way into a competitive position over the first two rounds.
“I feel like my game has been moving this way. In the last few weeks I’ve been making good starts and then over the weekend I’ve let it slip, so it’s nice to produce a good round on the Saturday and move in the right direction. I’ve always enjoyed playing Fancourt and I always fancy myself to do well in this event.”
- Michael Vlismas
10 February 19:29
Hard work pays off for Jerling at Fancourt
South Africa’s Luke Jerling put in a hard session on the range on the eve of this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt and it has paid off as he heads into the weekend tied for the lead in this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
Jerling signed for a 68 on The Links on Friday to move to the top of the leaderboard on 12 under par overall.
Over on the Montagu golf course, Sweden’s Adam Blomme carded a 67 to also end the day on 12 under. They are two strokes clear of South Africans Oliver Bekker and Adam Breen. Bekker carded a 68 on the Montagu while Breen added a 68 on The Links.
The tournament rotates between Fancourt’s three golf courses of The Links, Montagu and Outeniqua. After missing the cut in last week’s Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open, Jerling did some soul-searching on the range at Fancourt on Wednesday and said something in his game clicked right there.
“I was on the range until late trying to figure out what went wrong the previous week. I had a chat with my coach as well, and I went into Thursday’s first round feeling good and I’m just riding the wave. It’s great to be at the top of the leaderboard,” he said.
Even the two bogeys he made early on the back nine didn’t trouble him as he responded with five birdies on that nine – three of them in his last four holes.
“I hit it well off the tee and my iron play was good. I’ve found something in my putting this week, so with good iron play I’ve been giving myself chances and not putting myself under any pressure. The two bogeys I made on the back nine were just because I took a few gambles off the tee and hit it into fairway bunkers. But I bounced back nicely and recovered with birdies thereafter to keep the momentum going.”
Jerling knows better than anybody that a good day on The Links is not to be taken lightly.
“I’m very pleased. The weather was great but The Links is always still a tough test. The greens were running fast and it’s always a tricky course. I’ve seen the good and the bad of The Links and you can never be disappointed with a 68 on this course.”
Over on the Montagu course, Swede Blomme was equally pleased with his performance considering he hasn’t played too much competitive golf while recovering from injury.
“I’ve been really good off the tee this week and that’s been the difference for me. It’s been nice not to have to chip out all the time and actually have the ball in play. There were also a lot of opportunities if you just went for the middle of the green because the pins were tucked away. But this place is unbelievable. I love the golf courses here. I’m in a good space,” he said.
133 - Luke Jerling 65 68, Adam Blomme 66 67
135 - Adam Breen 67 68, Oliver Bekker 67 68 135 - Manuel Elvira 69 66, Conor Purcell 70 66, Kyle Barker 69 66
137 - Hennie O'Kennedy 72 65, Javier Sainz 69 68, James Kamte 69 67, Brandon Stone 69 68
137 - Tom Murray 71 66, Joel Girrbach 73 65, Oliver Farr 68 69, Wilco Nienaber 70 68, Ryan Van Velzen 70 67
138 - Alvaro Quiros 67 71, Jacques Blaauw 68 71, Hennie Otto 69 70, Louis Albertse 70 69, Craig Howie 69 70, Garrick Porteous 72 66
139 - Shaun Norris 71 68, JJ Senekal 67 73, Casey Jarvis 64 76, Jean Hugo 66 74, Ruaidhri McGee 66 73, Emilio Cuartero Blanco 71 68, Callum Mowat 68 71, Henric Sturehed 70 69, James Hart du Preez 74 66
141 - Ugo Coussaud 72 69, Renato Paratore 72 68, Pieter Moolman 73 67, JC Ritchie 69 71, Borja Virto 73 68, Clement Berardo 71 70, Clancy Waugh 66 75, Joel Sjoholm 73 68, Mateusz Gradecki 70 70, Alejandro Canizares 68 73, Fredrik From 70 70, Lorenzo Scalise 68 73, Dylan Naidoo 68 73, Rhys Enoch 70 71 142 - Rourke van der Spuy 76 66, Nicolai Kristensen 74 68, Benjamin Rusch 71 71, Gerard du Plooy 68 74, Andrea Pavan 68 74, Frederic Lacroix 70 72, Martin Rohwer 71 70, Yan Wei Liu 72 70, Christiaan Burke 71 70, Felix Mory 70 71, Keenan Davidse 74 68, Chris Paisley 71 70
- Michael Vlismas
09 February 17:50
Casey Jarvis took full advantage of a picture perfect day at Fancourt and a forgiving Outeniqua golf course, and signed for a 64 to lead the first round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am on Thursday.
Jarvis’s round of eight under par earned him a one-stroke lead over fellow South African Luke Jerling and Sweden’s Adam Blomme in this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
And he also leads in the team event with his amateur partner and Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, Selwyn Nathan, on 11 under.
Jerling’s three-putt at the last on the Outeniqua cost him a share of the lead. Blomme shot his round of seven under par on The Links, traditionally the most challenging of the three Fancourt courses used in rotation for this tournament.
But on the opening day the Montagu course also proved quite a test with only one score from here – Ruaidhri McGee’s 66 – making it into the top five on the leaderboard.
Jean Hugo, who has finished second here before, and Oliver Bekker are both well-placed on six under par.
Jarvis was delighted with a performance that reinforces the hard work he’s been doing to give himself chances on tour. Towards the end of last year he finished second in the South African PGA Championship, and then made a strong run at the lead in the Joburg Open on his way to finishing ninth.
“Before the end of last year I saw a friend of mine and he helped me with my swing just before the big tournaments, and I started hitting the ball really well. There were a few times when I put myself in some good positions in those events. I just want to keep putting myself there and keep learning. I’m learning more every time I’m out here and gaining experience,” said Jarvis.
Jarvis didn’t hold back on day one as he went out determined to take advantage of the Outeniqua layout.
“I was aggressive from the beginning. I knew I was hitting the ball well and in control of my irons. I didn’t really miss many iron shots today. I played really well right from the start. I hit the ball solid all day. In my practice rounds I worked especially hard on my putting and it paid off today. I rolled in a lot of putts. I’m just really pleased with my performance.
“It’s nice starting the tournament on the Outeniqua course and putting in a good low score that sets me up for the more challenging courses over the next few days.”
Jarvis’s performance had former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana star Jimmy Tau in awe as he was given a front-row seat as one of the VIP amateurs competing alongside the pros this week.
“You just stand there and admire them. I was in awe every time the pros hit their shots. Their work ethic and the way they conduct themselves is so professional. As a social golfer you think you understand what it takes to play at this level until you get out there with them, and you see it takes a lot to be a pro.”
– Michael Vlismas
64 - Casey Jarvis
66 - Adam Blomme, Luke Jerling
66 - Ruaidhri McGee, Clancy Waugh, Jean Hugo, Oliver Bekker
68 - Gerard du Plooy, Steven Brown, JJ Senekal, Jacques Kruyswijk, Dylan Naidoo, Merrick Bremner, Adam Breen, Alvaro Quiros
68 - Jacques Blaauw, Oliver Farr, Callum Mowat, Stuart Manley, Andrea Pavan, Alejandro Canizares, Brandon Stone, Thomas Aiken, Lorenzo Scalise, Pierre Pineau
69 - James Kamte, Louis Albertse, Hennie Otto, Martin Vorster, Frederic Lacroix, Derek Ackerman, Lyle Rowe, Kyle Barker, Alfie Plant, Wilco Nienaber, Sam Bairstow, Craig Howie, Rhys Enoch, Luca Filippi, Manuel Elvira, Javier Sainz, JC Ritchie, Conor Purcell
71 - Oliver Lindell, Lars van Meijel, Anton Karlsson, Mateusz Gradecki, Anthony Michael, Keith Horne, Henric Sturehed, Rupert Kaminski, Fredrik From, Ryan Van Velzen, Euan Walker, Felix Mory, Divan van den Heever, Michael Palmer, Pavan Sagoo, Jaco Van Zyl, Benjamin Rusch
71 - Heinrich Bruiners, Clement Berardo, Sean Bradley, Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Martin Rohwer, Toby Tree, Keagan Thomas, Yan Wei Liu, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez, Christiaan Burke, Jonathan Thomson, Chris Paisley, Mikael Lundberg, Matteo Manassero, Christopher Feldborg Nielsen, Ugo Coussaud, Tom Murray, Shaun Norris, Steven Tiley
73 - Combrinck Smit, Benjamin Poke, Max Schmitt, Yurav Premlall, Nikhil Rama, Marco Penge, Christopher Mivis, Callan Barrow, Garrick Porteous, Marc Hammer, Jean-Paul Strydom, Alan McLean, Renato Paratore, Niklas Regner, Hennie O'Kennedy, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Joel Girrbach, Malcolm Mitchell, Victor Rufian
73 - Joel Sjoholm, Lucas Vacarisas, Daniel O'Loughlin, Liam Johnston, Stephen Ferreira, James Hart du Preez, Keenan Davidse, Dylan Mostert, Dan Erickson, Joachim B. Hansen, Elias Bertheussen, Pieter Moolman, Darren Fichardt, Nicolai Kristensen, Francesco Laporta, Borja Virto, Ricardo Gouveia, Jovan Rebula, Franklin Manchest
75 - OJ Farrell, Siyanda Mwandla, Adriel Poonan, Makhetha Mazibuko, Ashley Chesters, Luke Brown, David Boote, Velten Meyer, Tristen Strydom, Herman Loubser, Jamie Rutherford
76 - Jacquin Hess, Lorenzo Gagli, Toto Thimba Jnr, Wynand Dingle, Philip Eriksson, Jeppe Kristian Andersen, Ruan Korb, Rourke van der Spuy
76 - Lindani Ndwandwe, Robert Foley, CJ du Plessis, Ruan Conradie, Estiaan Conradie, Koen Kouwenaar, Gregorio De Leo, Jaco Prinsloo, Oscar Lengden, Alex Haindl
77 - Robin Petersson, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Kyle McClatchie
78 - Gary Boyd, Chris Wood
80 - Sean Cronje
81 - Kristoffer Reitan
81 - Aneurin Gounden, Lucas Bjerregaard
05 February 21:16
Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Follett-Smith became only the second player to win two Cape Town Open titles when he claimed a one-stroke victory at Royal Cape Golf Club on Sunday.
In windy conditions and with a group of players vying for the lead coming down the back nine, Follett-Smith closed with a 70 to win on 15 under par and add to his 2019 victory in this tournament.
He joins JC Ritchie as the only two-time winners of this tournament.
"I’m so happy to be a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour. I think the second time you win is when you really prove yourself. Cape Town is such a special place and I love coming back to this golf course. I feel very at home here,” said Follett-Smith, who also claimed his second Sunshine Tour title and his first on the European Challenge Tour, who co-sanction this tournament.
Follett-Smith went into Sunday’s final round tied for the lead with Darren Fichardt.
At one stage he was locked in a battle with five players who were tied for the lead on 14 under par on the back nine. Follett-Smith broke free of that group with his birdie on the 14th for a one-stroke lead on 15 under par.
On the par-four 17th, he flew the green with his approach and was in danger of slipping back into a four-way tie for the lead.
But the Zimbabwean produced a touch of magic with his incredible up-and-down for par to retain a lead he carried through to victory.
"That up-and-down on 17 was the key to the win. I thought I’d hit the second shot perfectly but the wind combined with adrenalin took it over the green. I’m glad the wind picked up in the final round, though, because that’s where I’m good. When there were so many players vying for the lead, my caddie just said to let the guys run and fight each other and we just do what we normally do. I’m just so grateful to have won,” he said.
The gratitude stems from the the hard work Follett-Smith has put in over the past two years to get to this point.
“The last two years were a big learning curve for me. It’s been difficult and I’m just so happy to have won again. It’s been a lot of hard work. I came out on tour and was Rookie of the Year and won in my first year, and everything was kind of simple. But I’ve figured out you just need to keep working hard every week. I’ve been confident in the work I’ve been doing and what my game is capable of.”
Ugo Coussaud and Jaco van Zyl shared second place on 14 under par. – Michael Vlismas