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31st January 2023

Bok legend full of praise as Cape Town opens its arms to world golf

CAPE TOWN – Springbok rugby legend Francois Pienaar echoed the sentiments of all who took part in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open Pro-Am on Tuesday against the backdrop of the magnificent Table Mountain and under brilliant blue skies at Royal Cape Golf Club, as he sang the praises of a city he calls home.

“I love this place. It has so much to offer,” said Pienaar as he joined a host of other luminaries in the pro-am before Thursday’s first round of this Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournament, which has drawn an international field of 156 professionals.

“Early this morning, my wife and I went for a walk on the promenade, then up the glen and back over Lion’s Head – it’s just stunningly beautiful. Then to drive out here to play golf on a magnificent golf course ahead of what is looking like it’s going to be a fantastic tournament again this year is a privilege. I don’t take it for granted. I feel absolutely blessed.”

It was a feeling shared by Welshman Rhys Enoch, a former Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open champion.

“Cape Town is a special place for anyone, really. As I drove from the airport yesterday I was thinking that this is my ninth time here and every time it still feels just as incredible driving in and seeing Table Mountain. The weather is fantastic, and this old golf course is beautiful and in exceptional condition this year. It’s just a special vibe here for everyone. All the golfers are always excited about what the city offers. The whole event is special.”

For Sunshine Tour professional Jaco Prinsloo, who has travelled the world over the past few months, Cape Town represents a kind of homecoming for him.

“It’s a beautiful place and it’s always lovely to be here. The golf course is in great condition and it’s just always a treat coming to Cape Town. The last couple of months I’ve travelled all over the world and it’s just so nice to come back here. It’s not my home in South Africa but it just feels like home. You hear Afrikaans and it’s just a beautiful place. I love coming here.”

It’s the kind of feedback that puts a smile on the face of Councillor Mzwahke Nqavashe, the City of Cape Town Portfolio Chairperson, Safety and Security.

“Cape Town is welcoming. It’s named the Mother City for a reason. It’s welcoming and warm. This is the second year of our three-year agreement with this tournament and our investment is yielding results. This is an international tournament that contributes so much to our economic growth with the high quality of players its brings here. Through its broadcast reach we are watched all over the world. The City of Cape Town is competing with the best cities in the world, and through hosting major international sports events it shows that Cape Town has that event pedigree and can lead the way.” – Michael Vlismas

  • Springbok rugby legend Francois Pienaar was amongst the luminaries who took part in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open Pro-Am at the Royal Cape Golf Club on Tuesday. Credit: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour.
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30th January 2023

Think you can Beat the Pro? Well, prove it!

If you think you’re better than the pros, now is the time to prove it.

The Sunshine Tour is offering golf fans a unique opportunity to prove you’re as good as you think you are and take on the professionals in a par-three shootout at any one of 10 official Sunshine Tour events on the schedule for the chance to win a trip to the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and then the ultimate prize of an all-expenses paid trip to one of golf’s four Majors in 2024.

That’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot at golf glory against an elite professional in a Sunshine Tour event.

Any golf fan over the age of 18 can enter by purchasing a ticket on the Sunshine Tour website for one of the 10 qualifying tournaments.

And then you need to Beat the Pro in a closest to the pin challenge on a par three. In tournament conditions. Under tournament pressure.

There will be 10 aspiring stars competing in each event, which will take place during the fourth round of each Sunshine Tour tournament. Did we mention the in-tournament pressure?

If none of the 10 amateurs manages to beat the professional, then the closest to the pin amongst the 10 amateurs will win that event and an all-expenses paid VIP trip for two to the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, where you will again compete against the other nine champions for the ultimate prize of a trip to attend a Major in 2024.

So golf fans, glove up, pitch up, and show us what you’ve got against the best on the Sunshine Tour.

To enter go to

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24th January 2023

The Score with Keith Horne

The Score is the Sunshine Tour’s Player Blog.

Keith Horne reflects on his regular career on the Sunshine Tour, and a new phase in his life after winning the Legends Tour Qualifying School and earning his card there.

I’m more relieved than anything else after winning the Legends Tour Qualifying School. I’ve had lots of messages from my family and friends. It’s a big relief to get it done. I’ve had a lot of support and I’m just glad I didn’t let anybody down. I really want to thank everybody for their support.

Turning 50 kind of just sneaks up on you. You get so busy playing, and I’ve been so busy traveling around the world. So many people slow down when they’re in their early 40s, and I’ve been fortunate to keep playing around the world. So I wouldn’t even have blinked at turning 50. I would’ve kept going and there wouldn’t have been a change of gear. I suppose only Covid-19 forced me to sit back and reflect a bit on it. Otherwise, it’s not something I would’ve even considered.

I was pretty bad when I turned pro. I was working as Hugh Baiocchi’s apprenctice at Prince’s Grant because I had no intention of turning pro. I believed I wasn’t good enough. So I’d play a few Sunshine Tour events for fun. But it was only in 1997 that for some reason I decided to turn pro fulltime. I was 27 then. That’s why when I hit 35, I felt like I was only beginning to learn my craft while other pros my age maybe felt tired with their careers. I was only just getting excited and feeling properly competitive.

I’m pretty hard on myself, and a fear of failure was my biggest drive. I don’t like to fail. I work from the bottom up. It’s good in one sense, and bad in another. I’m petrified of failing so I’ve pushed myself every day. I played at Royal Durban and they had Warren Abery, Bradley Davison, Rory and Gary Sabbitini, and I was number five in my club side. I wasn’t a superstar. I had zero success as an amateur. But I loved golf. So looking back at how I started and to think I’m still here playing the game for a living, then I’d like to think it’s been a pretty good career.

It took me a long time to feel competitive worldwide. It was a very hard grind after that first win. I had no sponsor backing. I had qualified as a labour lawyer, but I had no desire to go that route. Somehow I managed to always find the extra gear just to keep going. And then came what was clearly a defining moment in my career. It turned my whole career around. It was the 2004 dunhill championship at Houghton Golf Club. I was completely broke. My wife, Karen, is lying in bed next to me pregnant with our first child. I was having anxiety attacks and playing the worst golf ever. Then on the Monday of the dunhill championship, Karen asked me if I would go and see a hypnotist. I thought it was a crazy idea, but I was so desperate I would’ve gone to see a witchdoctor if I thought it would help. So I went to see him in Bedfordview on the Wednesday before the tournament. All he did was teach me to relax and meditate and visualise good shots. That’s one thing I’m very good at –  visualisation. So I related to it immediately. I shot 73 in the first round, but I felt great. I felt like a different human being and felt more in control of my game and myself. The next day I shot 67 and made the cut by one shot. I felt like a millionaire. Then on the Saturday I shot 63 and was leading early in the day before the rest of the field went out. And on the last day I got it going a bit but then got a bit nervous and shot 71. But I finished tied 14th and made close to R100 000. And that was it. I finished tied 10th in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, third in the Nashua Masters and third in the Tour Championship after that. And I was on my way. It was a huge turning point for me. If it didn’t turn out like that, I would’ve given up that year for sure. Once I got the bit between my teeth I really enjoyed it. I achieved things for me that I never thought possible.

I still feel like I haven’t reached my potential. I still feel like I have so much to achieve. I try and take time off, but I can’t. I love to play. I’ll play on my own if I have to. I enjoy competing and playing. A few years ago I played with Ernie (Els) in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. Ernie was one of my idols. But the biggest thing that struck me when we played together is how much he enjoyed playing golf. He loves playing tournament golf. That was a revelation for me. I think I’m the same in my pure enjoyment of just playing this game. – Michael Vlismas

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22nd January 2023

SA golf celebrates Denis Hutchinson

JOHANNESBURG – South African golf came together to recognise one of its greats at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Sunday as professionals and amateurs celebrated the incredible contribution Denis Hutchinson has made to the game.

The annual Denis Hutchinson Challenge once again brought together professional golfers from the Sunshine Tour, Sunshine Ladies Tour and PGA of South Africa and amateurs from GolfRSA and the South African Golf Development Board to compete as teams in a celebration of Hutchinson’s career as a golfer and a broadcaster.

The team of Ivanna Samu, Nikhil Rama, Kael Strydom and Gregory Jacobs took top honours with 89 points on the West Course.

Hutchinson had multiple victories on the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour in his playing career, including famously being the last amateur to have won the Investec South African Open Championship in 1959. Amongst his many accolades, Hutchinson has been recognised with Lifetime Membership of the Sunshine Tour and as Honorary Life President of the PGA of South Africa.

“Hutchy has been such a wonderful ambassador for South African golf for decades now, both as a player who competed with some of the greats of the game, and then as a commentator who became known as ‘The Voice of Golf’. It’s an honour for all of us in the family of South African golf to come together on a day such as this and take the time to recognise the immense contribution he has made to the game we all love,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

Winning Team Photo (from left to right): Nikhil Rama, Kael Strydom, Denis Hutchinson, Ivanna Samu and Gregory Jacobs at the prizegiving of the Denis Hutchinson Challenge at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Sunday. Credit: Tyrone Winfield.