9th February 2022

Top pros and sports stars gather for Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt

Fancourt was bathed in sunshine on Wednesday and with its three golf courses in immaculate condition against the backdrop of the Outeniqua mountain range as the Dimension Data Pro-Am, one of the showpiece tournaments of the Sunshine Tour, welcomed a stellar field of professionals and amateurs for this week’s tournament.

The 2022 edition of this historic tournament – which has been won by stars of the game such as Mark McNulty, Nick Price, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Christiaan Bezuidenhout – has drawn a world-class field of sports stars that will compete alongside the finest young professionals on the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour from Thursday to Sunday.

Springbok rugby’s finest in Francois Pienaar, John Smit, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger Snr. and Schalk Burger Jnr., Jean de Villiers, Odwa Ndungane and Nick Mallett are joined by cricket greats Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith as well as Bafana Bafana great Jimmy Tau as amongst the glittering array of amateurs in the field.

So much so that this is one of those rare weeks on the golf calendar when the professionals are the ones who are a little starstruck by their playing partners.

“You can definitely get quite starstruck here with all the sports stars. It’s always a great week to spend with them catching up. It was two years ago that I was paired with Francois Pienaar and we had such a great time together,” said Sunshine Tour professional Anton Haig.

“You really can’t get a more beautiful place in the world to play golf. Dimension Data and all the sponsors always put on a great show this week in what is also an important week for us in terms of some good world ranking points on offer. I’m taking up membership of the Challenge Tour so this starts an important run of Challenge Tour events on the Sunshine Tour for me.”

Fellow Sunshine Tour professional Trevor Fisher Jnr. was equally excited about the week to come.

“It’s one of the best weeks we have on the Sunshine Tour. The golf courses are always great and the setting we have here is world class. It’s also great fun with the amateurs. I’ll take Jacques Kallis this year for sure – he’s quite handy off his handicap.”


MyGolfLife announces title sponsorship of MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood

MyGolfLife, the digital golf rewards platform of MoreCorp, will be the title sponsor of the new MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood and which will make its debut on the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour at the Pecanwood Golf & Country Club from 10-13 March 2022.

MyGolfLife is South Africa’s leading digital golf rewards platform which connects people around their shared passion for golf, and rewards this community with exclusive offers from Africa’s largest golf retailer, The Pro Shop.

MyGolfLife’s comprehensive offering for the golf community includes access to lastminutegolf and GolfTeeTimes and over 200 000 available tee times at more than 100 golf courses throughout South Africa every month at subsidised rates, online scoring through the ScoreCapture app, game improvement with the Gary Player Golf Experience, and access to any of the three world-class golf leisure parks of the World of Golf in Midrand, the Golf Village in Centurion and the Golf Village at Gilloolys at subsidised rates.

“We’re extremely proud to announce MyGolfLife’s sponsorship of the MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood and to be able to extend our support and passion for golf to both the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour,” Darryl Egdes, CEO of MoreCorp.

“MyGolfLife is all about rewarding golfers for their passion for the game and enabling them to live that passion even more by connecting every single element of their golf lives.”

“Now we can add a truly international golf tournament on the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour that showcases the best professional talent on both tours, and which further emphasises what we believe is an unrivalled celebration of what the golf life is all about.”

The MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood significantly enhances South African golf’s global footprint and brings international golf back to a venue that opened in 1996 as the country’s first Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.

“Pecanwood Estate was born out of the vision of a community’s passion for the game of golf and their desire to combine this with an unrivalled lifestyle that set the benchmark for golf estates in South Africa,” said Morné Botha, General Manager of the Pecanwood Estate HomeownersAssociation (HOA).

“MyGolfLife has a similar philosophy of a community of golfers living out their passion for the game and being rewarded in the process. Our shared vision and the support of the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour will make for a memorable tournament for every golf fan.”

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said: “MoreCorp and The Pro Shop have long been valuable and loyal partners to the Sunshine Tour, and we’re delighted to grow this partnership through the new MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood.”

“Their passion for the game and their passion for the golf community is without question, and this will be another opportunity for us to showcase the entire golf community to an international audience.”


8th February 2022

Nienaber to defend Dimension Data title in field including Major champ Goosen

GEORGE, Western Cape – Wilco Nienaber will make the first title defence of his professional career in this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt, in a tournament that marks the start of the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour’s run of seven (six in South Africa and a seventh in Tanzania) co-sanctioned events with an international field of golfers from 30 countries, and including double US Open champion Retief Goosen.

“I’m really excited,” said Nienaber as he returns to the scene of his breakthrough victory in the professional ranks.

“The win feels like such a long time ago. In fact, last year felt like a long year. But I’m pretty sure that as soon as I get to Fancourt I’ll relive some of those memories. Having said that, the focus is on this week and not last year. I want to win it again this year and not get stuck in last year.”

While Nienaber returns as the reigning champion of this historic tournament, Goosen is back as the 2002 winner and as part of a strong field also including Dean Burmester, former Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner JC Ritchie, and six former champions of this event.

“It’s a big tournament with a lot of points on offer, so you’ve always got to make sure you’re ready for it. I’ve got a plan for the week and I’m looking forward to it,” said Nienaber.

A large part of that plan is navigating the challenge of three different courses this week – the Montagu, Outeniqua and Links – and the popular pro-am format.

“It’s important to make sure your energy levels are spot-on this week. A lot of the success this week is about getting your preparation right, and then being patient out there. We’re fortunate to have a long run of Challenge Tour events coming up, so I’ve got a good plan in terms of my preparation and making sure I’m ready for every tournament I play in.”

This will also be the second week that Nienaber has veteran caddie Ricci Roberts on his bag. He and Roberts, the man alongside the majority of Ernie Els’s successful career, started working together at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Sun City, and Nienaber says the experience he brings is invaluable.

“It kind of just happened that we started working together. There was no real reason behind it. It’s great to have his experience on the bag. I remember at Sun City, when it came to the first round of the tournament, it just felt like another practice round. He brings that experience and calm to the situation.”

Photo: Wilco Nienaber is back to defend his Dimension Data Pro-Am title at Fancourt this week. Credit: Sunshine Tour.


5th February 2022

Extreme weather forces rescheduling of Kit Kat Group Pro-Am

IRENE – The extreme weather that has hit Gauteng forced the rescheduling of this week’s Kit Kat Group Pro-Am after the Irene Country Club was waterlogged and certain holes severely damaged by a flooding Hennops River.

Following an incomplete first round on Friday because of the weather, the Sunshine Tour had to make the call to cancel the tournament on Saturday as the golf course was unplayable.

The Tour is liaising with the Kit Kat Group in terms of rescheduling the tournament for another date.

“We unfortunately had to cancel play because the course is unplayable. Waterlogged is really an understatement of what we are dealing with here. The river is all over the golf course. We have four holes that are heavily underwater, and others that are severely damaged,” said Tournament Director Ludwick Manyama.

“We are holding discussions with the Kit Kat Group and we are looking at a possible date in June to replay the event.”


4th February 2022

Grey clouds at Irene have a silver lining for Naidoo

A day of multiple weather challenges in the opening round of the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am at Irene Country Club on Friday ended prematurely as the thunderstorms had the final say, and with Dylan Naidoo at the top of the leaderboard on seven under par through 13 holes.

The start of the first round was delayed by three hours because of the weather, and with the par-four eighth reduced to a par three for this tournament because of waterlogged areas on the course.

Then there was another delay for dangerous weather at 14:30, and finally play was called off for the day at 15:56. The first round will resume at 6:40 on Saturday.

But Naidoo managed to make steady progress through it all with his seven birdies and no bogeys in the challenging conditions. He leads by three strokes over Rupert Kaminski and Jayden Schaper. Kaminski managed to make it into the clubhouse with a 67, while Schaper has played 14 holes.

Byron Coetzee also managed to complete his round, signing for a three-under-par 68. Deon Germishuys, Tristen Strydom and Louis de Jager are in a group of players all well placed on three under and still to complete their rounds.

But at the end of a difficult opening day, Naidoo was more than pleased with his performance.

“I played quite nicely. The course is there for the taking if you can hit good tee shots. There are good birdie opportunities out there. The greens are quite receptive, so that helps.”

He also took the weather delays in his stride.

“For the most part it was just playing shot for shot. It was more just playing each shot on its merit and not getting it into my head that I need to hit this wedge shot close and try and make birdie. It also helps that I know this golf course well. I played a lot of junior golf at Irene. With a bit more experience, I’m doing a bit better than I used to do.”

Naidoo will return on Saturday morning with the same level of focus.

“There’s going to be a lot of moving parts to this golf tournament with all of the delays, but that’s part of the job. I’ll just take it as it comes and play the shot in front me.”

Photo Credits: Sunshine Tour


3rd February 2022

Golfers leave birdies and chase groceries for their caddies

The Sunshine Tour’s professionals teamed up with the Kit Kat Group to try and make the month a little easier for the tour’s caddies in a trolley dash through the aisles of the company’s Crown Mines store earlier this week.

Sunshine Tour golfers Muzi Nethunzwi and Kyle Barker and their respective caddies Thompho Ndou and Jabulani Nkosi had 60 seconds to dash with a trolley and fill them with as many groceries as possible, all of which went to their caddies.

The Sunshine Tour is in the City of Tshwane this week for the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am, which will be played at the Irene Country Club from Friday to Sunday.


2nd February 2022

Young stars vie with veterans for Kit Kat Group Pro-Am glory

After a highly successful debut last year, the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am has drawn another quality Sunshine Tour field for the second edition of this R1 million tournament to be played at the new venue of Irene Country Club this week.

Welshman Rhys Enoch will be back to defend the title he won at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club last year in a field that includes exactly half of the top 30 golfers on the current Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

A field of young stars such as Tristen Strydom, Dylan Naidoo, Jayden Schaper, Deon Germishuys, Luca Filippi and others who are looking to make their Sunshine Tour breakthroughs is well balanced with the experience of two former South African Open champions in James Kingston and Hennie Otto, three former South African PGA Championship winners in Jaco van Zyl, Keith Horne and Louis de Jager, and veteran Adilson da Silva who last week celebrated his 400th Sunshine Tour tournament.

Martin Rohwer, the most recent champion on the Sunshine Tour following his victory in last week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf Final, will also tee it up at Irene Country Club from Friday to Sunday this week.

The tournament also occupies a key position on the Sunshine Tour schedule as the final event before the run of Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournaments.

“We’re delighted to welcome such a quality field to our second edition of the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am. Our debut event last year was a tremendous success and we’re excited to build on this with this week’s tournament as we seek to play our part in helping to develop the next generation of Sunshine Tour stars while at the same time giving our loyal customers an unforgettable experience with us,” said Ahmed Gani, Chairman of the Kit Kat Group.

As a new partner on the Sunshine Tour, the Kit Kat Group has embraced its vision of making a difference in its communities with a vital contribution outside the ropes as well.

Last year, through the Birdies for Kit Kat Group initiative, the company partnered with the Sunshine Tour and its professionals in donating 2 543 food hampers to needy families who were reeling under the economic impact of COVID-19. The hampers were specifically donated to the South African Caddie Association (SACA), the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and FeedSA.

The company has also hosted trolley dashes at its stores where a selected Sunshine Tour professional and his caddie have been given a limited time to dash through the aisles and fill up their trolley with products that all go directly to the caddie.

“The Kit Kat Group takes its social responsibility very seriously. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we worked hard with local NGOs to distribute food hampers to areas that were hardest hit by the pandemic. We are a company steeped in the communities where we have our stores, and we believe in making a difference in the rebuilding of South African communities during this pandemic,” said Riaz Gani, CEO of the Kit Kat Group.

Photo: Rhys Enoch returns to defend his Kit Kat Group Pro-Am title. Credit: Sunshine Tour


1st February 2022

Jonsson Workwear brings world-class golf back to Durban

After over a decade, the city of Durban will once again open its doors to an international golf tournament when the Jonsson Workwear Open tees off at both Durban Country Club and Mount Edgecombe Country Club from 24-27 February 2022 with a field of the finest young stars from the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour.

The 2010 South African Open was the last major international golf tournament at Durban Country Club, and where Ernie Els was crowned the champion.

This flagship event forms part of the Sunshine Tour’s strong and lucrative start to the 2022 Sunshine Tour season, with the Jonsson Workwear Open taking its place amidst a run of seven tournaments co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour and offering a R3.6 million purse.

Durban Country Club’s celebration of its Centenary coincides perfectly with a new international tournament from a pioneering leader in the industry which has Durban as the headquarters of the ever-expanding Jonsson Workwear brand, and which resonates with its efforts to build, sustain and showcase the region’s potential. Partnering with the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour provides the opportunity to echo what Nick Jonsson, CEO & Chairman of Jonsson Workwear, continues to work towards.

“This iconic event is on par with our belief in providing people opportunities to perform at their peak. We recognise and celebrate hard-working people who unleash resilience and grit to achieve greatness. We are proud to introduce the Jonsson Workwear Open and believe this partnership will strengthen our commitment to Durban as a city and KZN as a region of endless possibilities,” he said.

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said, “We are extremely excited to add the Jonsson Workwear Open to our international co-sanctioned schedule with the Challenge Tour, and to be able to return to the beautiful city of Durban with a major Sunshine Tour event. Our strong relationship with Jonsson has indeed revealed a brand that is true to its core vision of being a company with purpose that wants to help engender peak performance in its industry. It’s a philosophy that ties in with our own belief that #GreatnessBeginsHere on the Sunshine Tour. We’re also grateful to our other partners on this event, including Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga, East Coast Radio and the Mfulawozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve. And it’s a particularly special occasion for us to be returning to Durban Country Club which this year’s celebrates is Centenary. This is a course steeped in history and which has seen many memorable Sunshine Tour moments, and we’re hoping to add a few more as it reaches this great milestone.”

Jamie Hodges, Head of Challenge Tour, added, “The Jonsson Workwear Open is a key event in our South African Swing of Challenge Tour events and we’re extremely excited about the role Jonsson will play in helping to anchor what is a strong run of events in South Africa. The Road to Mallorca is all about the opportunities we can create for our members in order for them to take the next step up in their careers. We cannot do this without the loyal support provided by Jonsson and the Sunshine Tour.”

Photo  (From left to right): Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, Desiree Stone, CEO of Mount Edgecombe Country Club, Nick Jonsson, CEO and Chairman of Jonsson Workwear, and Erroll Stewart, Chairman of Durban Country Club at the launch of the 2022 Jonsson Workwear Open at Durban Country Club on Tuesday.