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Dominant Daniel ready for Wild Coast

21st October 2020

Dominant Daniel ready for Wild Coast

Daniel van Tonder will look to continue his incredible form on the Sunshine Tour as he heads into Wednesday’s first round of the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge on the back of three victories in his last four tournaments.

And his chances of continuing this run look even better considering that he finished second in the 2016 Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge after an opening round of 62.

Van Tonder has been a revelation ever since the Sunshine Tour resumed its schedule with the Rise-Up Series.

The Johannesburg professional didn’t finish outside the top 10 in any of the five tournaments on the Rise-Up Series, and this included three victories on the series.

He earned a total of R310 850 over those five tournaments, which is already just under half of what he earned in an entire season in his first year on the Sunshine Tour in 2012 when he was named Rookie of the Year.

A combination of a new diet of intermittent fasting as well as a rock-solid mental approach has been the key to Van Tonder’s success, and something he’ll look to continue capitalising on at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club this week.

It’s a mindset he believes takes him back to his days as South Africa’s top amateur before he turned professional in 2011.

“I just feel like there isn’t a shot on the golf course I can’t take on at the moment. I feel that wherever you put me on the course, I’ll find a way to hit the green. That’s how I used to play when I was an amateur, and especially in the year before I turned professional. I had that mindset,” said Van Tonder.

Van Tonder currently tops the Sunshine Tour Money List through five events of this new season, and his nearest challenger could also be his greatest threat this week.

Darren Fichardt is second on the money list and has an impressive record at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.

He won the 2009 Nashua Masters on this golf course as well as the 2011 Vodacom Origins of Golf. And he lost in a playoff against Vaughn Groenewald for the 2018 Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge after surging through the field with a final round of 62.

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The Joburg Open is back

20th October 2020

The Joburg Open is back

South African professional golf has received a major boost with the announcement that the Joburg Open will make its return to the Sunshine Tour and European Tour schedules this November, thereby ushering in the country’s return to international golf following lockdown.

The 2020 Joburg Open will be played from 19-22 November at Randpark Golf Club with support from the City of Johannesburg, and with a prize fund of R19.5 million.

This will be the first international men’s golf tournament on South African fairways in nine months, and a timely boost for the South African economy as it emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.

It will also be the first of a run of tournaments co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and European Tour this summer, with further announcements to come.

“We are delighted to announce the return of this world-class golf tournament to our world-class African city. Since the inception of this tournament in 2007, our vision has been that the Joburg Open must benefit all the residents of Johannesburg. Now more than ever, as our economy requires a boost following the COVID-19 lockdown and with our President publicly calling for a new business stimulus, the return of the Joburg Open is perfectly timed to contribute significantly towards this cause as it brings a major international event to our city once again,” said Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

The Joburg Open was last played in 2017 before the City of Johannesburg agreed to support the Sunshine Tour and absorb this event into the South African Open Championship for the duration of the latter’s hosting in Johannesburg.

The tournament first teed off in 2007 and boasts an impressive array of past champions including Major winner Charl Schwartzel and multiple European Tour champions Branden Grace, George Coetzee, Andy Sullivan and Darren Fichardt. The last tournament in 2017 was also the first significant victory for India’s Shubhankar Sharma and his emergence as one of the new stars of world golf.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome back the Joburg Open to our schedule in what is also a momentous moment for South African professional golf as we also welcome back international competition to our fairways after a lengthy break,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

“I’d like to the thank the Mayor and the City of Johannesburg for so graciously supporting us for the duration of the South African Open’s hosting in Johannesburg, and we are delighted that we can announce the return of a much-loved tournament amongst the residents of Johannesburg. I’d also like to thank the Sunshine Tour Board, our sponsors, partners and the European Tour for their support. My special thanks go to our Chairman, Johann Rupert, who has been instrumental in terms of the strength of our partnership with the European Tour, and also our Executive Director, Selwyn Nathan, who has worked tirelessly with us to achieve this momentous restart of our international schedule.”

European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “I am delighted to see the Joburg Open back on our schedule this year. We have a wonderful relationship with the Sunshine Tour stretching back over many years and this co-sanctioned tournament is another example of that.

“I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Johann Rupert, Thomas Abt, Selwyn Nathan and everyone at the Sunshine Tour for their commitment in making this happen, in addition to the Executive Mayor and the City of Johannesburg for their help and support.”

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Els wins again

12th October 2020

Els wins again

Ernie Els birdied the final two holes, running in a 40-footer in the rain on the last, for a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke victory over Colin Montgomerie on Sunday in the SAS Championship.

Els made the long putt on the par-4 18th three weeks after missing a 2-foot putt on the final hole of the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach to finish a stroke out of a playoff.

“It’s a crazy game,” Els said. “A couple of weeks ago I missed a very short putt to get in a playoff and today I make a 40-footer. Figure that one out.”

Jim Furyk missed a chance to become the first player to win his first three PGA TOUR Champions events, closing with a 70 to tie for ninth at 8 under — four strokes behind Els. Furyk won at Warwick Hills and Pebble Beach.

Els won for the second time in his first 10 starts on the PGA TOUR Champions. The South African star, a four-time major champion with 19 PGA TOUR titles, finished at 12-under 204 at Prestonwood Country Club. He pointed to putting help from fellow player Mark O’Meara.

“Just by chance I saw him on the putting green the other day and we just started chatting a little bit,” Els said. “He uses the same putter that I use, so we started talking a little bit and I said, `Hey, have a look here.′ I didn’t have a great experience at Pebble obviously a couple weeks ago. He looked at me, and he’s a great putter and knowing a man that long, he gave me a nice assist. He told me what he felt I should do and here I am. So, I owe Mark O’Meara.”

Els tied Montgomerie, playing three groups behind, with the birdie on the par-5 17th and pulled ahead on 18.

“I had 64 in mind,” Els said. “Especially on the final round, the guys, there were so many guys bunched. I was coming from 6 under, I reckoned 14 under was maybe a good score, but then the conditions helped out and it became really tough. So, 66 just squeaked in there.”

Montgomerie, tied for the second-round lead with Darren Clarke and Woody Austin, parred the final four holes — giving himself little chance on 18 when he hit his 190-yard approach 50 feet left. He shot a 70.

Vijay Singh (70) was third at 10 under. Austin (72) was 9 under with Gene Sauers (67), Robert Karlsson (68), Kirk Triplett (69 ) and David Toms (71). Clarke (74) tied for 11th at 7 under. – PGA Tour Champions.

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Harding in the h

9th October 2020

Harding in the hunt at Wentworth

South Africa’s Justin Harding shares a one-shot lead with Tyrrell Hatton and Adri Arnaus heading into the second round of the BMW PGA Championship after an enthralling opening day at Wentworth Golf Club.

The South African opened with a bogey-free 66 on a West Course that was playing long but receptive at the third Rolex Series event of the 2020 Race to Dubai.

“I think the thing that makes me most happy is there were no bogeys. I played good, solid golf. I had good control of my ball flight and my irons. It’s just a matter of trying to find a few fairways and see if I can give myself a couple chances on the greens,” Harding said.

Harding has a victory at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, but a Rolex Series win would be the biggest of his career, and the 34-year-old is relishing taking on the European Tour’s best.

“I think everyone teeing it up knows the stature of the event and how important it is for the season. It’s obviously an opportunity to have all the big guns out and playing, and any golfer wants to taste the best out there. The course is in great shape. They have put on a great show here.” – European Tour/ASAP Sports.

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Van Tonder is Unlocked and Reloaded

2nd October 2020

Van Tonder is Unlocked and Reloaded

Daniel van Tonder is unlocked and reloaded.

Van Tonder wrapped up the Sunshine Tour’s five-tournament Rise-Up Series with another emphatic victory at Huddle Park Golf Club on Friday as he closed with a 66 to win the Vodacom Championship Reloaded by four strokes on 21 under par 195.

It marked back-to-back victories for Van Tonder after winning last week’s Vodacom Championship Unlocked. And this was also Van Tonder’s third victory in five tournaments on the Rise-Up Series after his earlier triumph in the African Bank Sunshine Tour Championship.

In fact, on this Rise-Up Series alone Van Tonder has managed to equal his three previous career victories won between 2014 and 2019.

And he also becomes the first professional to win back-to-back on the Sunshine Tour since Justin Harding in 2018, and the first to win three tournaments on the Tour since Oliver Bekker in 2017.

“It feels amazing. I’ve got the kind of confidence that I don’t feel like I need to back down for any shot on the golf course. I feel like if I can make a swing, then there’s no shot that’s too tough for me. My wife and caddie Abigail plays a big part in that because she keeps me calm on the course and gives me that confidence,” said Van Tonder.

Jaco Ahlers and Adilson da Silva shared second place on 17 under par following respective final rounds of 65 and 66, while Jacques Blaauw took fourth place on 16 under par with a closing 68.

Ahlers had his own reasons to celebrate as he won the overall Betway Birdie Challenge for the most birdies on the Rise-Up Series. Ahlers took the first prize of R25 000 with his 79 birdies, just beating Van Tonder into second place on 77 birdies. Van Tonder earned an extra R15 000 for his efforts here. And third place as well as a cheque for R10 000 went to Tristen Strydom with 73 birdies.

“I’ve just played really solid. I’ve been working hard on my game, and the putter warmed up as the series went on,” said Ahlers.

The Tour now has a two-week break before resuming its schedule with the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club. – Michael Vlismas

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Daniel keeps dominating on Rise-Up Series

1st October 2020

Daniel keeps dominating on Rise-Up Series

Daniel van Tonder eagled his last hole of the day to give him a three-stroke lead going into Friday’s final round of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded at Huddle Park Golf Club.

It was another emphatic display of his current dominance on the Sunshine Tour’s Rise-Up Series. Teeing off the 10th with a one-stroke lead, Van Tonder came through 14 holes of his second round tied for the lead with Jacques Blaauw on 12 under par.

The Johannesburg golfer then birdied the par-five sixth – his 15th hole of the day – and eagled the ninth to sign for a 66 that puts him top of the leaderboard on 15 under par.

Blaauw posted a second round of 67 to be his nearest challenger on 12 under par. Malcolm Mitchell and Adilson da Silva are currently tied for third place on 11 under par following respective rounds of 68 and 64.

A victory for Van Tonder on Friday would not only give him his third win on the five-tournament Rise-Up Series, but it would also be one of the most dominant performances in recent history on the Sunshine Tour.

Van Tonder has already won two of the last three tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, and is now looking for a run of three wins in four tournaments.

By comparison, Jaco Ahlers won twice amidst a five-tournament run in 2019, while Justin Harding won back-to-back on the Sunshine Tour in 2018, Oliver Bekker won twice in a three-tournament run in 2017, and Ruan de Smidt won twice in three weeks on Tour in 2016.

Blaauw will be pleased with his position going into the final round as he seeks to claim his first victory since 2016. And history certainly bodes well for him. Of his four career victories on the Sunshine Tour, three have come in Vodacom sponsored tournaments.

And Da Silva may also feel confident at four shots off the lead. The Brazilian started the Rise-Up Series with finishes of sixth and second in the first two tournaments. – Michael Vlismas