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21st September 2022

Blaauw blitzes Wild Coast with 62

PORT EDWARD, KwaZulu-Natal – Jacques Blaauw was in inspired form on the opening day of the SunBet Challenge hosted by the Wild Coast Sun at the Wild Coast Country Club on Wednesday, his eight-under-par 62 putting him in a two-stroke lead.

Two eagles and eight birdies, meaning successive bogeys on the ninth and 10th holes barely mattered, saw Blaauw go to the 18th tee with the legendary 59 in his sights. But after a good drive, he misjudged the wind and his second shot was on-target but way short.

So Blaauw ended with a double-bogey six, but he was still two ahead of four golfers who shot excellent 64s – Jordan Duminy, Neil Schietekat, Keenan Davidse and Madalitso Muthiya.

“On the last hole, I knew walking up the fairway that a birdie would give me a 59. But I didn’t feel under any pressure and I hit a good second shot  but it was just way short,” Blaauw said.

“I played for nine metres past the hole but I was about 20 yards short, so we must have misjudged the wind. But it was good fun and I obviously played some unbelievable golf.

“It all started with me holing out for eagle on the second hole from 46 yards, and then a nice birdie at three meant I went on a roll, I just didn’t miss a shot.

“I played some unbelievable irons into the greens, birdieing three of the par-threes, and my tee-shot on the eighth was my shot of the day – the flag was on the left by the water and I hit an eight-iron 174 yards to three feet,” Blaauw said.

The 36-year-old, who has won four times on the Sunshine Tour, missed his last two cuts, so Wednesday’s phenomenal round marked a spectacular return to form.

“It’s very weird, I actually felt before my round that my luck was going to turn. I feel I’ve been playing good golf, but I just couldn’t get it all together in a round,” Blaauw said.

“With my coach Eugene Schwartz, we’ve been working on getting my body moving better. It’s also about getting sharp around the greens, you need those up-and-downs and I did not miss many today.”

Schietekat was in the same three-ball as Blaauw and was also on fire on Wednesday and was seven-under through 15 holes, but then he double-bogeyed the par-five 16th. He did well to bounce back from that shock, his first dropped shots of the day, and birdied the par-three 17th to ensure he joined the four-way tie for second.

And there are another nine golfers tied for sixth after shooting five-under-par 65s, including veteran Jaco van Zyl, who won two weeks ago up the coast at Selborne.


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20th September 2022

Sunshine Tour adds new Fortress Invitational to its 2022 schedule

The Sunshine Tour has added to its already robust schedule for 2022 with a new tournament, the R1.5 million Fortress Invitational, to be played at the Ebotse Links from 7-9 October.

Fortress Real Estate are specialists in the logistics and retail property sectors with an established in-house development track record. Fortress focuses on developing and letting premium-grade logistics real estate in South Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, and also has a convenience and commuter-oriented retail portfolio which currently comprises 52 shopping centres.

The 54-hole televised tournament is expected to draw a quality field of youth and experience including Albert Venter, the current Luno Order of Merit leader and two-time winner this season already, first-time winners Herman Loubser, Dylan Mostert and Anthony Michael, and rising star Jayden Schaper who will be playing his home course.

They will join established Sunshine Tour stars such as Jaco van Zyl, Neil Schietekat, Jean Hugo, Jaco Ahlers and Hennie Otto, while Jbé Kruger – a Sunshine Tour winner at Ebotse last season – is also expected to return for this event.

Steven Brown, CEO of Fortress Real Estate, said: “As South Africa’s leading logistics developer we pride ourselves on partnering with clients to power their growth through providing innovative real estate solutions. Now we get to power growth in South African golf. Our belief is that The Fortress Invitational offers local players the opportunity to grow and succeed in their careers, with the possibility of representing South Africa internationally through the addition of this tournament to their schedule. As a brand, we look forward to hosting our clients and tenants, celebrating a truly superb and challenging course.”

“Ebotse is situated close to our biggest logistics development to date: our flagship premium-grade Eastport Logistics Park. Once complete, the co-investment with Pick ‘n Pay will produce one of the largest distribution centres in Africa.”

The addition of The Fortress Invitational adds to the quality of high-level brands associated with the Sunshine Tour and Southern African professional golf.

“We’re very excited to announce the new Fortress Invitational as we keep growing our schedule and providing quality playing opportunities for our member professionals,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

“With the addition of the Fortress Invitational we have now built up a very strong schedule that allows Sunshine Tour professionals to remain competitive throughout the year as they prepare for our co-sanctioned tournaments with the DP World Tour, and which in turn gives them that opportunity to take their careers to the next level.”


Photo (From Left to Right): Sunshine Tour professionals Rupert Kaminski, Rhys Enoch and Michael Palmer at the launch of the Sunshine Tour’s new Fortress Invitational. Credit: Sunshine Tour.

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19th September 2022

Sunshine Tour drives further with Europcar

Europcar South Africa has brought even greater drive to the Sunshine Tour as the exclusive car rental provider and an official partner of the Tour.

Europcar South Africa brings its fleet of over 20 000 vehicles across 100 locations throughout the country to the Sunshine Tour, offering the professional golfers and staff a world-class car hire solution at a reduced rate from a company that has consistently been voted “Africa’s Leading Car Hire Company” at the World Travel Awards.

“We are delighted to partner with the Sunshine Tour and bring our global expertise and experience in the rental market to the sports industry, and specifically South African professional golf,” said Martin Lydall, Chief Executive Officer.

“Europcar is a company that strives for the highest level of professionalism in every area of our business. This is  shared by the Sunshine Tour and showcased in the elite performances of its member professionals. It’s a privilege for us to support this and play our part in ensuring that the Sunshine Tour moves around Southern Africa with ease and efficiency.”

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said: “Europcar is one of the most recognisable brands in the global car rental industry and a valuable partner for us. We’re deeply grateful that they have joined the Sunshine Tour family of top brands.”

“Travel is an inherent part of our business and ease of travel is also vital for the performance of our member professionals as well as our staff and their staging requirements. The ability of the Tour to move around South Africa hassle-free is key to our ongoing success and for our member professionals to be able to perform at the highest level.”


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17th September 2022

Dingle breaks through with Vodacom Origins win

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – Wynand Dingle finally has his maiden Sunshine Tour title to his name with a thrilling victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series San Lameer event, as the challenges of Jaco Prinsloo and Sean Bradley died in the closing holes on Saturday.

Dingle shot a scintillating six-under-par 66 to finish on 16-under-par for the tournament, one stroke ahead of Prinsloo, who also fired a 66, but paid the price for only being able to par the last three holes, following a streak of three successive birdies from the 13th.

The 38-year-old Dingle, meanwhile, picked up a crucial birdie on the par-five 17th, having also birdied the par-four 15th.

Earlier Bradley, who began eagle-birdie for a phenomenal start, and then picked up two more shots on the front nine, had taken the lead on 15-under with back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13thholes. But disaster then struck for the 27-year-old from Royal Cape Golf Club as he left the par-three 14th hole with a triple-bogey six. It killed his challenge and he ended with a three-under 69 to finish four strokes back on 12-under-par.

The day belonged to Dingle, however, who, despite several close misses and the frustration that brings, peacefully went about nailing down his first win in his 192nd Sunshine Tour event.

The Silver Lakes Country Club golfer dropped just one shot on the final day, at the par-four seventh, and despite the pressure put on him by both Prinsloo and Bradley when they were running hot, Dingle kept his cool superbly during the closing holes.

Overnight leader Danie van Niekerk had a tough day, capped by a double-bogey seven at the 17th, to finish with a 75 that dropped him into a tie for seventh place on eight-under with Harry Konig (67), Luke Jerling (69), Herman Loubser (69) and Rourke van der Spuy (71).

Malcolm Mitchell (67) and Luca Filippi (68) enjoyed excellent final rounds as they climbed into a share of fifth on nine-under, while Rupert Kaminski was alone in fourth on 10-under-par after shooting a 69 on Saturday.

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16th September 2022

Friendly tip carries Van Niekerk into Vodacom Origins lead

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – A tip from his friend and close challenger Sean Bradley has seen Danie van Niekerk take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series San Lameer event on Friday, with the Lichtenburg golfer taking an 11-under-par total into the weekend.

Van Niekerk shot a six-under-par 66 on Friday, the joint best round of the day, to go with his five-under 67 on the opening day, in a remarkable turnaround in form. The 34-year-old has missed his last three cuts, making it eight missed paydays in total this season.

“I felt last week that I played very poorly but my friend Sean Bradley helped me a lot on Monday and Tuesday this week,” Van Niekerk said. “So now I’m just hitting my small fade again and I’ve stopped trying to hit the ball both ways.

“San Lameer Country Club does suit me because I don’t really hit it long but I just focus on keeping the ball in play, but the big thing is I found my swing again.

“I started quite slowly today with four pars, but then I picked it up with four birdies in a row from the fifth. I’m very happy with the way I played, although I got a bit nervous on the last couple of holes and bogeyed the last.

“It’s the first time I’m leading a Sunshine Tour event and it feels good. I’m pretty excited about the final round and I will have the exact same game-plan: Just try and keep it in play and make some putts,” Van Niekerk said.

Wynand Dingle shared the overnight lead on six-under-par and he roared to nine-under early in the second round by birdieing three of his first four holes, having teed off on the 10th. He suffered the frustration of dropping a shot at the par-five 17th, but three more birdies on the front nine saw climb to 11-under. But then there was more frustration with a bogey on the par-three ninth hole, his last.

The 38-year-old Dingle goes into the final round just a shot off Van Niekerk’s lead and has been rampant in terms of consistency this season – he has made eight successive cuts now and has seven top-20 finishes in 11 events. His hopes of a maiden Sunshine Tour win have so far been thwarted, but he will be focused on stopping that on Saturday.

Bradley is in a tie for third, two shots back on nine-under, with Jaco Prinsloo, who raced up the leaderboard with a 67 on Friday.

Bradley’s 69 was a continuation of the good form he showed in finishing third in the Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge last weekend at Selborne Park Golf Club, and the 66 he shot in the first round at San Lameer.

Of the other golfers who shared the first-round lead, Ockie Strydom endured a disappointing day with just two birdies and three bogeys seeing him slip down into a tie for 12th on five-under; a double-bogey on the par-three 16th saw Herman Loubser also shoot a 73 to lie five-under, and Doug McGuigan also posted a 73 to be in that tie.

But the biggest exasperation of all was Matthew Spacey’s as he crashed to a five-over 77 and finished on one-under to miss the cut by a stroke. Double-bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes were his downfall.

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15th September 2022

Magnificent seven chasing victory in Vodacom Origins

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – Merrick Bremner’s front nine was littered with birdies and bogeys as he took the route less travelled into a share of the lead after the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf San Lameer on Thursday.

Bremner finished with an excellent 66 to share the lead on six-under-par with six other golfers, but none of Wynand Dingle, Ockie Strydom, Herman Loubser, Matthew Spacey, Doug McGuigan or Sean Bradley made quite as dramatic a start to their round as Bremner.

The 36-year-old from Bremner made par on the 498-metre par-five first hole, but then the rollercoaster ride began with two birdies being followed by a bogey at the par-three fourth, another pair of birdies before a second dropped shot on the par-four seventh, and then a birdie-four and a birdie-two to go out in just 32 strokes.

Bremner’s back nine was far more sedate as he was bogey-free and picked up back-to-back birdies on the par-four 12th and par-five 13th holes.

“It was definitely quite an eventful front nine,” Bremner agreed. “But it was tricky because I would hit a good shot and still end up with bogey, but I gave myself lots of chances.

“I’m definitely very pleased with the round because I had a couple of weeks off and it was nice to return in a rich vein of form,” Bremner said.

A man as experienced in coastal conditions as Bremner, who grew up in Durban and has won down the road at the Wild Coast Sun and in the 2019 Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at Humewood, was not going to be troubled by the wind on Thursday, which in any case was more predictable than the blustery gales that blew on Wednesday.

“I wasn’t too fazed by the wind blowing, even though it was weird – it felt stronger than it was. But I like it when it blows a bit, it separates the field.

“I just execute my game-plan and take what comes. I definitely feel like my game is trending in the right direction, and it seems I now have the right mix in terms of when to play and when to rest,” Bremner said.

Strydom had the chance to finish the day as the sole leader on seven-under-par, but he bogeyed the par-three ninth hole, his last.

Spacey, the 31-year-old from Dainfern, started birdie-birdie but then finished twice as well with four successive birdies from the 15th hole to shoot up the leaderboard into the seven-way tie for the lead.

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14th September 2022

Otto applauds opportunities for young pros

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – The most obvious thing young, up-and-coming golfers need is the opportunity to compete, and veteran Sunshine Tour campaigner Hennie Otto has praised the sponsors of this week’s event at San Lameer, Vodacom, for the critical role they have played in the development of the sport in this country.

Otto has been on tour since 1997/98, when it was actually known as the Vodacom Tour, and is teeing it up this week in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at San Lameer Country Club as one of the favourites, given his ninth position on the current Luno Order of Merit.

As a senior statesman of the tour and someone who has enjoyed its benefits so much, Otto is eager to ensure the younger generation get the same exposure and rewards.

“Vodacom have been involved in golf in this country for more than 20 years and what they’ve really done is develop golfers,” Otto said after the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Pro-Am at San Lameer.

“Every young golfer needs opportunity in order to have a successful career, and if nobody creates those opportunities for them, then they won’t get them.

“I’ve played with Mr Mzimba [William, CEO Vodacom Business Group] a few times in these Vodacom Origins of Golf Pro-Ams and he tells me about the dozen or so development players they help. Hopefully those guys really come through, and even if just five of them do then it is still something special.

“The tour is definitely growing and I think in the years to come, it is just going to get bigger,” Otto said.

While the Sunshine Tour has seen a number of very promising young players shine this year, the fairways are still very much the lair of experienced pros like Otto, Jean Hugo, who is seventh on the Luno Order of Merit, and Jaco van Zyl, who won last weekend at Selborne Park Golf Club.

The 46-year-old Otto is still hitting the ball well and looked in hot form last weekend when he finished second to Van Zyl at the Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge. It was his fourth top-six finish this season, a ray of hope after a couple of very tough years following the passing of his wife in 2020.

“As a senior, some of the guys call me ‘Oom’, but this ‘Oom” can still play now and again,” Otto smiles. “I’ve been doing nicely, I just haven’t finished off like I want to.

“But I’m close to where I want to be both mentally and physically, although I’m a bit overweight – I’ve had a few braais,” he laughs.

“But there are nice tournaments coming up, we’re building up and up for the big ones at the end of the year, and the more you finish up the leaderboard, the more confident you get.

“I’ve played all those tournaments before, I know the places, so I’ll be even more comfortable,” Otto said.

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13th September 2022

Vodacom Origins focused on giving back

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – A focused consistency has underpinned the development clinics on the Vodacom Origins of Golf since its inception in 2004, and this consistency shone through on day one of this week’s tournament at San Lameer Country Club on Tuesday.

Around 20 learners from disadvantaged areas on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast attended the development clinic that forms part of every Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament. And Vodacom’s Eleni Kwinana – the Executive Head of Department for Vodacom Business Marketing KZN – was delighted to see young golfers she recognised from a previous Vodacom Origins golf clinic in 2020.

“To give young kids from areas where they would never be exposed to golf the chance to get some professional coaching is very heartwarming, and I even recognised some of the boys and girls from two years ago at one of our previous tournaments. It was brilliant to see them again,” Kwinana said.

“Youth education is one of our key pillars at Vodacom and helping communities has almost become a way of life for us. We don’t see CSI programmes as being something separate from our day-to-day work. Where we see a need we help or we find someone who can help.”

Helping people from all walks of life is par for the course for Vodacom, and golf has enjoyed their patronage and support for longer than most sports with the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series now the longest-running series of pro-am events on the Sunshine Tour.

“We really enjoy seeing the professionals and amateurs connect at our tournaments. Especially in this post-Covid time because people have been starved of human contact,” Kwinana said.

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Bezuidenhout joins field for 2022 Nedbank Golf Challenge

Christiaan Bezuidenhout will join a strong South African challenge for the 40th edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club from November 10-13, 2022, on a golf course where he memorably etched his name alongside some of the greats of the game.

Bezuidenhout returns to Sun City with fond memories of his triumph in the 2020 South African Open on this golf course, which saw him claim his third DP World Tour title that December.

“The Nedbank Golf Challenge is an iconic event for all of us as South Africans and it’s going to be really special to have the fans back and supporting us as we all try and win a tournament that is very close to our hearts. I cannot wait to get back to Sun City and play in such an historic edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.”

“To have won at the Gary Player Country Club is an ambition of any South African professional because it is such a great test of golf, and for me to have done so in the South African Open made it that much more special. I love the golf course and the whole atmosphere of the Gary Player Country Club.”

This will be Bezuidenhout’s second appearance in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The 28-year-old takes his place in the field for “Africa’s Major” at the end of a landmark year for him.

Bezuidenhout finished as the leading South African on the PGA TOUR last season in 51st place on the FedEx Cup Standings. He came close to a breakthrough victory when he ended tied second in the John Deere Classic.

His consistency, which included making 20 out of 24 cuts, saw him achieve another first in his career when he was selected as one of countryman Trevor Immelman’s Captain’s Picks for The Presidents Cup at the end of September.

Bezuidenhout joins a field that already includes countrymen Dean Burmester and Thriston Lawrence, defending champion Tommy Fleetwood of England and American Will Zalatoris.

Tickets for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, starting at R40 for the Pro-Ams and R250 for Tournament Rounds, are available here, while Hospitality Packages for the Circa Champions Club, Circa Pavilion or Circa 18th Green can be purchased here. The 2019 edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge delivered record attendance figures and sold-out hospitality.

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12th September 2022

Burmester confirmed for 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

Dean Burmester, South Africa’s latest PGA TOUR member, has confirmed his place in the 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Mont Choisy Le Golf from 15-18 December which is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour.

Burmester, an ambassador for Mont Choisy Le Golf as well as tournament sponsor Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, returns to Mauritius as a newly minted PGA TOUR member after securing his status for next season through the Korn Ferry Tour. He also achieved another notable first of his best finish in a Major when he ended tied 11th in the 150th Open Championship in St Andrews this July.

The two-time DP World Tour champion and eight-time Sunshine Tour winner is looking forward to improving on his top finish of tied 20th in the 2015 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open as he plays a tournament that is close to his heart.

“I have a proud association with Mauritius through Mont Choisy Le Golf and Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels. Mauritius, and the Trou aux Biches Beachcomber, has always been a destination that I love going to, especially with my family. The fact that this year’s tournament will be played at Mont Choisy Le Golf for the first time made it an even easier decision for me to end what has been a memorable year on the beautiful island of Mauritius,” said Burmester.

“I love what Peter Matkovich has done with his design of Mont Choisy Le Golf and I can’t wait to see how the course plays under championship conditions.”

From his first Sunshine Tour victory in the 2013 Polokwane Classic, Burmester has been a consistent winner on his home Tour. He was able to translate this into his breakthrough on the DP World Tour when he won the 2017 Tshwane Open. The 33-year-old South African added a second DP World Tour title in the 2021 Tenerife Open and has climbed as high as 64th on the Official World Golf Ranking.

The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open returns to the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour schedules for the first time since 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic and has drawn a glittering array of blue-chip sponsors including Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mont Choisy Le Golf, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), Jaguar, Rogers, Heritage Resorts, IBL, 3G Mobile, Phoenix Beverages, Air Mauritius, Emtel, Mautourco and Hertz.