Mossel Bay - The 15th season of the Vodacom Origins of Golf comes to end this week and the final tournament is being played at Pinnacle Point Golf Estate in Mossel Bay.
Celebrating the 15th season in style, an innovation this season saw the Heritage Le Tefair Resorts coming on board as the sponsors of the newly developed stand-alone Order of Merit for the series.
With a top 25, a top 10 and two runner-up finishes to accompany his Arabella victory, Neil Schietekat sits R76 800 clear at the top of this Order of Merit after five tournaments. Lurking and - judging by his current form - poised to make a serious challenge for the top this week, is Jake Roos who has had a fantastic season too.
While Roos has not won this season, and while he has missed two cuts in five events in this series this season - at Selborne and Parys - he boasts runner-up finishes from Zebula and St Francis while he came third at Arabella.
A win for him this week - and if Schietekat finishes fourth or worse - will catapult Roos to the summit of the standings.
Behind Roos and behind Schietekat by just over R98 000, the resurgent Garth Mulroy takes up the third spot on the Order of Merit. He, however, has played two events fewer than both Roos and Schietekat.
His 18th place finish at Zebula, coupled with the runner-up finish he got at Selborne following a solid week at Wild Coast indicated a return to form which maybe even he did not anticipate. It was the win at Parys, however, which shot him to the top five of this money list and he, too, with a win, and if both Schietekat and Roos falter at Pinnacle Point, stands a chance to walk away with prize come weekend.
The top five in the standings is completed by Alex Haindl, whose consistency has already delivered him silverware this season, and Peter Karmis who claimed his maiden title at Selborne this year. Despite Haindl's win at St Francis and his 12th and fifth place finishes at Zebula and Selborne, respectively, a win at Pinnacle Point will still leave him a few hundred rands short of Schietekat's total. Karmis, even he wins this week too, is effectively out of the race, having made earnings totalling R153 000 from three Origins of Golf tournaments this season.
It looks like a three-man race for the top spot on that Order of Merit and Schietekat will be bullish heading into this week's tournament. Overlooking either one of Roos and Haindl would also prove to be a rookie error as both competitors have everything it takes to win a golf tournament.
It's been a great 15 years of the Vodacom Origins of Golf series, and this innovation is just one among the many which Vodacom has been able to throw in and make things a little bit more interesting.