Sunshine Tour

Stone, Porteous set to battle in Sunshine Tour Virtual Golf Challenge

Brandon Stone (Getty Images)
Brandon Stone (Getty Images)

Sunshine Tour stars Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous are preparing for their upcoming virtual golf match against each other exactly as they would for any major tournament.

Except that Porteous says his usual pre-round stretching routine might be a little shorter for the time he'll spend in front of the television, and Stone is putting in extra work on improving his hand strength.

Porteous and Stone will go head-to-head at 15:00 on Sunday in the third round of the Sunshine Tour Virtual Golf Challenge, and which will be live streamed for golf fans to enjoy.

Porteous is leaving nothing to chance in his preparation for an online golf game that that his fellow professionals have told him is incredibly tough to play, and maybe even harder than the real thing.

"I'll put in a few late nights of practice before Sunday, and I'm going to do some deep dives into You Tube to pick up any tips. You Tube will be my swing coach for this one," Porteous said on Thursday.

"I've never played this particular game before. I've played the Tiger Woods golf game, and I'm told this is harder, so to be honest I'm not holding my breath as to how good I'll be. Martin Rohwer told me it's particularly tricky around the greens, but in normal golf that's my strong point."

Stone is also well aware of the digital challenge that awaits. "I've got a great home entertainment set-up, but to be honest my brother spends more time in it than me. I've been setting up my avatar already. I just have a bit of a problem in that my guy keeps coming out as a ginger, so I'm trying to fix that before Sunday."

On the day of their match, Porteous says he'll try and follow his normal tournament routine as much as possible to give himself the edge over his opponent.

"I'll stick to my routine. I tend to rush a bit on the golf course so I'll focus on slowing it down for this game as well. At a normal tournament I usually arrive at the golf course two hours before my round to stretch, eat and then warm up. I don't know how much stretching I'll have to do for this game though."

Stone says he'll focus on hand strength in the days leading up to the match.

"On the day, I think I'll also have a final warm-up of a thumb war with my wife. Then I'll be good to go," he said.

As for a particular golf course for this challenge, Porteous has a few options he hopes the Sunshine Tour Virtual Golf Challenge Tournament Committee will consider.

"I think both Stoney and I would love to play the Gary Player Country Club as the host of the Nedbank Golf Challenge and with it being any South African golfer's dream to play that tournament. Or Leopard Creek, as South Africa's number one golf course. Maybe we can even suggest that we play two matches, one at Glendower Golf Club where Brandon won the South African Open, and then another at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club where I won the Joburg Open a week after him."

Stone says he's more than happy to settle on Leopard Creek or Royal Johannesburg and Kensington. And he also dealt the first psychological blow to his opponent.

"You know, Haydn and I have been playing against each other since we were about 12. We're both very competitive, and we're quite similar. I suppose it's no coincidence that both of our first European Tour victories came within a week of each other. I'd just like to remind Haydn that mine came first though."

Porteous refused to be drawn into any pre-game talks of a great golf rivalry between them.

"I'm not firing any shots now. I'll leave all that for Sunday."

Keep an eye out for the action on the Sunshine Tour's YouTube channel

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