- South African golfer Garrick Higgo says the Sunshine Tour is a great "confidence-builder" as he looks to replicate last year's breakthrough season.
- The Sunshine Tour kickstarts its 2021 season on Friday with the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am in Johannesburg.
- Higgo is looking to regain some form and confidence ahead of a busy European Tour schedule.
The Sunshine Tour is back on Friday as the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am kickstarts the 2021 season.
The tour was scheduled to get underway in February, but was postponed to March following the rise of Covid-19 cases over the festive season.
As South Africa moves to level 1 lockdown, 72 golfers will compete in three rounds at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club - vying for a prize fund of R1 million.
With the European Tour season resuming next week, the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am is packed with some of South Africa's most talented golfers.
Garrick Higgo, who is the highest-ranked golfer (106th) in the field this week, rose to prominence after a whirlwind 2020.
Higgo had a breakthrough season on the Sunshine Tour in 2019/20 when he claimed two victories - 2019 Sun City Challenge and 2020's Tour Championship.
He was then awarded the Bobby Locke Trophy after a superb rookie season which included the two wins, as well as a runner-up and three Top 10 finishes.
Following the coronavirus induced-break, Higgo shifted his attention to the Challenge Tour and stunned the field to claim the Open de Portugal title, which was co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
It was Higgo's maiden European Tour title and saw him secure playing rights on golf's second-biggest circuit.
Speaking to Sport24 ahead of Friday's opening round, Higgo stated that his game hasn't changed despite his continued success.
"I just want to play as well as I can every week. Over the last two years, I haven't really tried to win, it just kind of happens," said Higgo.
"I hope it's the same this year, but I'm learning every week."
The 21-year-old's philosophy is all about believing and backing his ability on the fairways.
"There are goals but they're quite obvious, trying to get as good as I can. There's no world ranking where I want to be at some point. I just want to be as good as I can and that'll be enough for me," said Higgo.
"There's a lot of confidence in what I do, just knowing what works and makes me good. I focus on that and improve on other aspects of the game."
However, Higgo's 2021 season hasn't gone off to the best start, failing to make the weekend cut in the three European Tour events thus far.
The month-long break on the European Tour couldn't come at a better time as he admitted that he was relieved to be back at home.
"It was actually quite nice; I didn't play so well the first three events, so it was nice to go back home and see my coach and work on some things," he said.
Higgo said that he is using this weekend's Kit Kat Group Pro-Am as preparation for the European Tour's resumption, which restarts next week at the Qatar Masters.
"I love playing in South Africa, so I think it'll work for me. The Sunshine Tour has been such a confidence builder whether I do well or not, I always feel like I'm better after a Tour event," said Higgo.
"It's nice to play in this one in order to get back some competitive play before the three European Tour events."
Higgo confirmed to Sport24 that he will not play the remainder of the Sunshine Tour as he will compete overseas.
"I'm going to Europe. I have entered all the Sunshine Tour events but that is just in case we get stuck over here. I'm probably going to withdraw for the rest of the Sunshine Tour events because I'll be in Qatar and then in Kenya for both events," he said.
"I'll play everything on the European Tour for the rest of the year as it's a priority but if I can, I'll see if I can squeeze in a Sunshine Tour event."
SuperSport will provide live coverage of the second and third (final) round of the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am. Broadcasting is scheduled to start at 13:00 on Saturday and at 12:00 on Sunday.
Featured Round 1 pairings of the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am:
07:00 - Dean Burmester, Zander Lombard
07:10 - Jaco Ahlers, Darren Fichardt
07:20 - Keenan Davidse, Louis de Jager
07:30 - Neil Schietekat, Wilco Nienaber
08:00 - Garrick Higgo, Toto Thimba Jnr
12:00 - JC Ritchie, Jbe' Kruger