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22nd May 2022

Venter wins FBC Zimbabwe Open in playoff

HARARE, Zimbabwe – An excellent day with the putter saw Albert Venter to a superb final-round 66 and a playoff for the FBC Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club, with the 26-year-old then sinking a 16-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to claim his maiden Sunshine Tour title on Sunday.

Venter had to hold off Stefan Wears-Taylor, who also shot 66 in the final round, and Louis Albertse (67) in the playoff after the trio all finished the tournament on 10-under-par.

They all parred the 18th in the first playoff hole, but on their next attempt, Venter spun a sand-wedge from the fairway back to 16 feet from the pin and then nailed the birdie putt, with Albertse and Wears-Taylor unable to make their shorter putts.

Venter’s success with the putter was unexpected because the Silver Lakes golfer struggled with the short stick in the third round.

“I knew I needed to just keep grinding today, follow my processes, and my goal was to just get in contention on the back nine,” said Venter, who began the final round five shots off the lead.

“I was playing with the American, Dan Erickson, and he was off to a flyer – six-under after seven holes. So he was the guy to catch and I just tried to stay in touching distance of him. Then I caught fire on the back nine and I just kept following my processes, just keeping the ball in play, hit the greens and make the putts.

“Yesterday [Saturday] was a really bad putting day – 31 putts – so last night I spent an hour or two on the green and I found something. The putter paid off today with the prize,” Venter said.

Venter finished runner-up (his best finish on tour) in last September’s Sunshine Tour Invitational at Centurion Country Club, but two missed cuts in October probably cost him a top-50 finish in the final 2021/22 order of merit.

His victory on Sunday means none of that matters now and he said his big breakthrough felt surreal.

“At the moment, it’s still kind of surreal. To get to this professional level is hard enough, but then to win is a whole another level. It’s about belief and I can only thank my supporters, my coaching staff and family, who felt I was good enough. I would not be in this position without them,” Venter said.

Erickson was still in the lead when he birdied the par-three 15th, which Venter bogeyed, but the American was knocked out of contention by a bogey-bogey finish.

Wears-Taylor birdied 16 and 17 to claim the outright lead, but then bogeyed the last to force him into a playoff, with Albertse staying alive as he birdied 18.

Venter’s round was built around three successive birdies from the seventh hole, and he then burnt up the back nine with a run of four straight birdies from the 11th hole. Despite dropping a shot at 15, he stuck around to the bitter end.

Overnight leader Luca Filippi finished in seventh position after shooting a 75, while Louis de Jager and Jaco Ahlers joined Erickson in fourth place, two shots behind, after they both made 70s on Sunday.

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21st May 2022

Filippi hangs onto FBC Zimbabwe Open lead

HARARE, Zimbabwe – The third round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club will not be fondly recalled by Luca Filippi, but the good news for the 23-year-old is that he still leads going into Sunday’s final round despite his 74 on Saturday.

That lead is a tenuous one, however, with Wynand Dingle firing an excellent four-under-par 68 to climb within one shot of Filippi, who is on nine-under-par overall.

Things looked to be progressing smoothly for Filippi, who took a five-shot lead into the weekend, as he birdied three successive holes in the middle of the front nine. But a bogey at the par-four eighth started the trouble and a double-bogey six at the 10thhole was a bitter blow.

The Milnerton Golf Club representative did manage to collect a couple of birdies on the back nine, but a bogey, double-bogey finish put the seal on a tough afternoon at the office.

“It felt like a very long day and it was tough going out at 12.30pm in the swirling wind,” Filippi admitted. “So three-under through six holes was a great start.”

“But then the double on 10 set me back, and I unfortunately had two bad holes to end too. But I thought I hung in nicely on the back nine. It was a nice start in conditions that were not easy and I thought I was building a nice lead, but golf thought otherwise and instead I just have a one-shot lead,” Filippi said philosophically.

It is only a one-shot lead thanks to Dingle, who is also seeking his first Sunshine Tour win, finishing birdie-birdie.

And it is not only the 37-year-old that Filippi has to worry about, with the vastly-experienced Jaco Ahlers (71) and Louis de Jager (72) both on six-under, while the in-form Louis Albertse (72) and Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya (72) are both one further stroke back.

But Filippi has a good head on his young shoulders and it’s not only about winning his maiden Sunshine Tour title in the final round for him; whatever happens, he sees it as another learning experience in an exciting professional career that was only launched a couple of years ago.

“The FBC Zimbabwe Open is a massive event, one of the bigger tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, and I’ve never had a one-shot lead going into the final day of a four-round event before. But regardless of the outcome, I would have learnt a lot after tomorrow’s round and I look forward to see what the day has in store for me,” Filippi said.

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20th May 2022

Filippi flies into the lead in FBC Zimbabwe Open

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Just about every golfer chats about bringing an aggressive approach to the course, but it doesn’t always translate into reality or a low score. But it did for 23-year-old Luca Filippi on Friday in the second round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open as he fired a superb seven-under-par 65 at Chapman Golf Club to claim a five-shot lead heading into the weekend.

Filippi, who began the day in a tie for fifth after shooting 68 at Royal Harare Golf Club on the first day, was just one-under-par through nine holes on Friday, but he knew he was playing well and stuck at it. Even missing a short birdie putt on the 10th did not derail him and he then exploded into action with successive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes, an eagle on the par-five 14th, and further birdies on 16 and 18.

“I played nicely from the start, even though I was only one-under on the front nine,” Filippi said. “I had some nice opportunities for birdie and then missed a short one on 10, but it was great to then start making putts. I was especially happy about my eagle on 14 because I had only played the par fives in level par on the front.

“I wanted to be aggressive and on both courses they’re using for the tournament you’ve got to hit your driver very well. If you position yourself well off the tee then there are lots of birdies out there. I was doing that well today, although the putting was a little tricky at Chapman – the greens aren’t rolling quite as pure as at Royal Harare. But I knew there was definitely a low score out here.

“I will keep my gameplan pretty much the same over the weekend, shooting four under at Royal Harare on the first day was a good start. I need to keep being aggressive. I can’t afford to sit back and relax. I need to keep my foot on the pedal, be aggressive off the tee and give my putts a chance,” Filippi said.

The Milnerton Golf Club representative, who is on 11-under-par at the halfway stage, will need to keep an eye on second-placed Louis de Jager (-6), who it must always be remembered did the South African Amateur Championship double in 2007, has won five times on the Sunshine Tour and competed in over 100 DP World Tour events.

All that experience has come to the fore in solid back-to-back rounds of 69 by De Jager, while in-form first-round leader Louis Albertse is with a group of five golfers at five under par after shooting 74 at Chapman GC.

Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya kept himself in the top three with a level-par 72 on the same course, while veteran Jaco Ahlers shot a 69 at Royal Harare to also go five-under for the tournament. Albert Venter and American Dan Erickson are the other golfers on that mark.

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19th May 2022

Albertse’s fast start gives him the lead in FBC Zimbabwe Open

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Louis Albertse will remember with fondness the first three holes of the Royal Harare Golf Club as he birdied them all en route to a superb seven-under-par 65 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open on Thursday.

The Dundee Golf Club representative also birdied holes five through seven, giving him a tremendous start of six birdies in his first seven holes.

But the back nine of the parkland course In Zimbabwe’s capital did bite back a bit, with Albertse dropping shots at the 10thand 16th holes.

The birdies also kept coming, though, with the 25-year-old making a four at the par-five 12th hole, a three at the 14th and then finishing in style with another birdie at the par-four 18th.

Herman Loubser, the winner of the Lombard Insurance Classic last weekend at Arabella, shot a 66 at nearby Chapman Golf Club, the other course being used for an historic tournament that unfortunately could not be played for the last three years,  to claim second place on the first day of one of the premier African tournaments on the Sunshine Tour schedule.

Keagan Thomas and Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya were in third place, having shot five-under-par 67s at Royal Harare.

The 121-year-old course was kinder to them on the back nine than it was to Albertse, with both Thomas and Muthiya coming home in just 33 strokes.

Albert Venter, Luca Filippi and Ryan van Velzen were all on four-under-par on a congested leaderboard, with 34 golfers shooting under-par to showcase the exciting young golf talent in Southern Africa.

Albertse challenged strongly at Arabella last weekend after shooting 66 in the first round, but his last two rounds (73, 75) did not work out quite as he had planned.

But he is obviously a young man building on the confidence of a groundbreaking 2021/22 season on the Sunshine Tour in which he finished in the top 50 on the Luno Order of Merit for the first time in his career, including a maiden victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Mount Edgecombe.

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18th May 2022

Sunshine Tour pros ready for historic FBC Zimbabwe Open

The FBC Zimbabwe Open is a title that’s been held by two former world number ones and multiple Major champions, and this week one of the premier African tournaments on the Sunshine Tour schedule makes its return after a three-year absence.

The celebrated Royal Harare Golf Club and Chapman Golf Club will jointly host the FBC Zimbabwe Open, which tees off on Thursday.

The tournament’s long history with the Sunshine Tour began in 1984, and it has seen Vijay Singh and Nick Price amongst its most celebrated champions, while Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty have added to its pedigree as former winners.

Most recently, Jbe’ Kruger has been a two-time champion, and both Darren Fichardt and Dean Burmester won here on their journeys to the DP World Tour.

It was the first victory of Jean Hugo’s celebrated Sunshine Tour career of 19 wins, and which he achieved in 1999 in his rookie season on the Tour. Hugo is in the field this week, as is another former champion in Lyle Rowe, who claimed the 2016 title when he beat PGA Tour campaigner Dylan Frittelli. Jaco Ahlers and Neil Schietekat have returned from their recent sojourns to Asia for this year’s tournament.

And rising star Dylan Naidoo makes his debut in the FBC Zimbabwe Open this week as he looks to keep building towards his Korn Ferry Tour campaign later this year.

“I’ve never been to Zimbabwe before but I’ve heard really good things about the golf courses and the greens and courses, so that’s exciting. Playing the FBC Zimbabwe Open fits into the plans I have for the year. With the new season starting on the Sunshine Tour, I had planned to get some good tournament golf in and get myself as high up as possible on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit before heading off to the Korn Ferry Tour later this year. Starting in Zimbabwe is part of that plan,” he said.

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16th May 2022

Investec secures the title sponsorship to both SA Opens

Investec is proud to confirm the title sponsorship of The SA Open Championship, one of the DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournaments on the Sunshine Tour and the second oldest national Open in golf after The Open Championship.

First played in 1903, the four-day, globally televised championship will celebrate a field of 156 professionals competing for a significant minimum prize fund of $1.5 million. The 2022 Investec South African Open will be played at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate in early December, with a final date to be confirmed.

Peta Dixon, Investec’s head of sponsorships, said of the four-year partnership to the nation’s flagship golf event, “Investec is an organisation firmly rooted in South Africa and, as title sponsor of both South African Opens, we believe we can continue to contribute to a game so many are passionate about. The most powerful possibilities are human and so it is with great pride that we also announce our commitment to the Sunshine Tour Transformation Class for a three-year period. As the official patron, we will work alongside the Sunshine Tour to help close the gap between young talent becoming professional players, ensuring that, when the time comes, each player is suitably equipped to perform on the professional circuit.”

Investec’s golf involvement began in 2008 with a 12-year title sponsorship of the Investec Royal Swazi Open. This expanded into the Chase to the Investec Cup, multiple athlete endorsements, and the current prized eight-year partnership and title sponsorship of the Investec SA Women’s Open, in place until 2025.

Investec chief marketing officer, Abey Mokgwatsane, said, “The SA Open Championship is a prestigious tournament, unmatched in South Africa’s golf history, with the best of the best competing for honours. The possibilities that this tournament provides golfers to achieve their full potential at the top tier of their profession is unrivalled.”

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said, “The South African Open has distinguished itself as one of the most prized titles in world golf with a legacy of champions which includes some of the greatest names in the game. We are proud to have our national Open associated with a sponsor that exudes the same spirit of excellence and professionalism for which this championship is known, and which adds significantly to the legacy of this great event. Investec’s further support of our Sunshine Tour Transformation Class is an incredible investment on their part in the future potential of South African golf and aligns perfectly with our own vision that Greatness Begins Here on the Sunshine Tour.”

Ben Cowen, DP World Tour Chief Tournament Business Officer, said, “The South African Open has always been a special championship on our international schedule and Investec’s support adds to its great history. The timing of this sponsorship couldn’t be more relevant, with the DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour enhancing our already long-standing relationship with more co-sanctioned tournaments, and we look forward to strengthening this partnership further.”

Grant Hepburn, Chief Executive of GolfRSA, also praised the new sponsorship and Investec’s further commitment to the Sunshine Tour Transformation Class. “The South African Open has an incredible aspirational effect on our golfers who all strive to add their name to this prestigious trophy. Investec’s support of both the pinnacle of our local game as well as the development thereof creates the pathway to success that our programmes around the country seek to keep nurturing, and we are truly grateful for their support.”

Investec is proud title sponsor of the Investec South African Women’s Open, the Investec Order of Merit, and the Investec Homegrown Award. In addition, Investec currently sponsors four South African professionals, namely Lejan Lewthwaite, Nicole Garcia, Stacy Bregman and Zethu Myeki, as well as Irish player Stephanie Meadow.

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15th May 2022

Loubser claims maiden Sunshine Tour win at Arabella

KLEINMOND, Western Cape – Herman Loubser claimed his maiden Sunshine Tour title when he beat Ockie Strydom in a playoff for the Lombard Insurance Classic at the Arabella Country Estate on Sunday.

The Modderfontein golfer, who had to qualify for this tournament and did so with a second-place finish, came through regulation play tied for the lead with Strydom on seven under par. Strydom closed with a 68 while Loubser signed for a 69.

Playing the par-five 18th again as the first playoff hole, both golfers made par. But on the second attempt, Loubser found the birdie he was looking for as he chipped in for the title.

“It hasn’t kicked in yet. But I had a drink from the trophy, and it tasted so sweet,” said Loubser.

Keith Horne finished third on six under par with a final round of 74.

Loubser turned professional in 2017 after winning the Qualifying School. He was a winner on the Altron Big Easy Tour in 2020 but had to return to the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School after losing his card just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“That was tough. I sat out for two years watching my friends do well on tour and knowing I had the game to be there as well. I worked hard last year and felt like I came into this event ready,” he said.

Going up against the more experienced Strydom in a playoff was also a further test of Loubser’s resolve.

“I know Ockie really well and have played with him a lot before. He’s such a great ball striker and it was intimidating. I also haven’t had a great record in playoffs before this. But I got it done,” said Loubser, who leaves on Monday for the next Sunshine Tour event in the FBC Zimbabwe Open.

And he does so as a Sunshine Tour champion.

“I’m into the bigger tournaments now which is massive for me. I can plan my schedule a bit better. You don’t know if you’re good enough to do it out here until you do it. Now I know I’m good enough to be out here, and hopefully there will be a few more,” he said. – Michael Vlismas

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14th May 2022

Evergreen Horne targets Sunshine Tour title number 10

KLEINMOND, Western Cape – When Keith Horne won his first Sunshine Tour title in May 1998, Ernie Els was world number one, Tiger Woods was second and Davis Love III was in third place. On Sunday at the Arabella Country Estate, the 50-year-old Horne has the opportunity to win in an entirely new generation.

Horne signed for a second round of 68 in the Lombard Insurance Classic on Saturday, showing his intent early in the round when he opened with two straight birdies. His second consecutive 68 of the week lifted him to eight under par overall and into a three-stroke lead in this 54-hole tournament.

His nearest challengers are Rupert Kaminski and Louis Albertse on five under par, and both of whom were two years old when Horne claimed his maiden Sunshine Tour title. Kaminski worked his way into contention with a second round of 69 while Albertse signed for a 73.

One of the longstanding campaigners of South African golf is chasing a significant 10th title on the Sunshine Tour.

Horne has fond memories of Arabella having won a Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament here in 2017.

“I’m feeling good. My results haven’t been great of late and I was struggling a bit. But now that the overseas tours have opened up for me again after COVID-19, I’ve been working hard and it’s nice to see it paying off,” said Horne, who is relishing playing a golf course where he feels more competitive.

“We’ve been playing golf courses that are bombers’ paradises recently and I can’t compete against the youngsters anymore. It’s nice to play a stunning course like this that requires thought, where the greens are hard and fast, and where I don’t feel like I’m playing catch-up all the time. I can be competitive, and it’s inspiring me as well. It’s so nice to be back in a position to win again.” – Michael Vlismas

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13th May 2022

Albertse leads the way at Arabella

KLEINMOND, Western Cape – Louis Albertse started this new Sunshine Tour season fuelled by the confidence of his last season, and he opened with a six-under-par 66 to lead the Lombard Insurance Classic at Arabella Country Estate on Friday.

Albertse didn’t drop a single shot as he claimed a one-stroke lead over Herman Loubser, with Hennie Otto, Keith Horne and Dean O’Riley all ending the first day two shots off the lead.

Albertse had a groundbreaking 2021/22 season on the Sunshine Tour in which he finished in the top 50 on the Luno Order of Merit for the first time in his career, including a maiden victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Mount Edgecombe.

“That’s been a big confidence booster for me. It’s kind of like a pat on the back to say you’re on the right track,” said Albertse, who is also relishing the environment he’s in this week.

“It’s always a privilege to play good golf on a great course and to do so on the Sunshine Tour. I enjoy the golf course. Coming from Pretoria and Johannesburg, I just love the atmosphere here. It’s so nice being in this environment, and the condition of the golf course is great.”

As one of the few players in the field to sign for a bogey-free round on Friday, Albertse says the secret to his performance lay more in his mental approach than any technical aspects of his game.

“There are always a few things you’re tweaking in your swing. After the season-ending Tour Championship and the wind there, I felt like there were maybe a few things I needed to fix with my swing. So I had low expectations at the start of my first round here. I just told myself to try and be as comfortable as possible and just keep the ball in play. This is not a long golf course, so if you keep the ball in play then you’ve always got a chance.”

It’s the same attitude he’ll carry into the weekend as he pushes for his second victory on the Sunshine Tour.

“I’ll definitely try and do so. I think this course is one you have to respect. You have to play a chess game around here,” he said.

So far, Albertse is making all the right moves. – Michael Vlismas

Photo Credit: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour.


66 – Louis Albertse

67 – Herman Loubser

68 – Hennie Otto, Keith Horne, Dean O’Riley

69 – Hennie O’Kennedy, Kyle Barker, Joshua Seale, Pieter Moolman

70 – Jacques P de Villiers, Ockie Strydom, Rupert Kaminski, Wynand Dingle

71 – Martin Vorster, Jake Roos, MJ Viljoen, Clancy Waugh

72 – Richard Joubert, Andre De Decker, Rourke van der Spuy, Luke Brown, Jacquin Hess

73 – Tristin Galant, Bradley Bawden, Ryan Van Velzen, Clinton Grobler, Deon Germishuys, Combrinck Smit, JJ Senekal, Jacques Blaauw, Luke Jerling

74 – Joe Long, Keelan Africa, Yubin Jung, Keagan Thomas, Ruan Korb, Peter Karmis, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jake Redman, Keenan Davidse, Heinrich Bruiners, Sean Cronje

75 – Chris Cannon, Keelan van Wyk, Luca Filippi, Tristen Strydom, Paul Boshoff, Dwayne Basson, Dylan Mostert, Jean Hugo

76 – Vaughn van Deventer, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Hayden Griffiths, Danie Van Niekerk, Byron Coetzee, Estiaan Conradie, Albert Venter, Franklin Manchest, Erhard Lambrechts

77 – Alex Haindl, Therion Nel, Aneurin Gounden, Rhys West, Christiaan Basson, Nikhil Rama

78 – Merrick Bremner, Jared Harvey, Kyle McClatchie, Stephen Ferreira

79 – Adam Breen, Gerrit Foster, Brooklin Bailey

80 – Steven Le Roux, Lyle Rowe

81 – Gerard du Plooy

82 – Adriel Poonan


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12th May 2022

Strydom looking for fast start to new Sunshine Tour season

KLEINMOND, Western Cape – The Sunshine Tour’s 2022/23 season tees off in the Western Cape this week with the Lombard Insurance Classic at Arabella Country Estate, and where Tristen Strydom will hope to continue where he left off last season.

Strydom claimed his breakthrough victory on the Sunshine Tour in the previous season-ending Tour Championship at the beginning of this month. It capped his most successful season as a professional as he finished ninth on the final Luno Order of Merit.

After a brief break he’s back in action this week at an Arabella golf course that holds fond memories for him.

“I love Arabella. It’s one of most scenic golf courses in the country. When I was younger and playing a lot of amateur GolfRSA tournaments we travelled a lot around the country. Most of the GolfRSA Boland tournaments were played in Hermanus and also at Arabella. I love that whole area and it has some special memories for me,” said Strydom.

Strydom enjoyed a lot of amateur success in this part of the world and will definitely draw on all of these memories as he looks to build towards what could be his most significant season to date.

“Winning the Tour Championship has given me massive opportunities and one of those is that I’ll be leaving at the end of this month to compete on the Challenge Tour, starting with my first tournament in the Czech Republic. The ultimate aim is to qualify for my DP World Tour card this year,” said Strydom.

Another golfer who’ll enjoy being in more familiar surroundings is Luca Filippi who also played plenty of amateur golf in this region and who narrowly lost out on the Rookie of the Year title to Jayden Schaper last season.

The Lombard Insurance Classic will also mark a new start for Yubin Jung, the winner of the recent Altron Vusi Ngubeni Tournament which is the Sunshine Tour’s qualifying school for historically disadvantaged golfers. Several of the golfers who successfully qualified for the Sunshine Tour through this tournament will be in the field this week as they also form part of the Tour’s new Transformation Class supported by Investec, Betway, VAT It and Credit Guarantee. Michael Vlismas