KNYSNA, Western Cape – The Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf comes full circle this week as the 2023 Grand Final of this prestigious series is played at the Pezula Championship Course where it first teed off in 2004.
A selection of South Africa’s DP World Tour, European Challenge Tour and Asian Tour campaigners have returned to home fairways this week for the final of a series that over the past two decades has launched the careers of some of the country’s golf stars and defined the careers of others.
Oliver Bekker, Dylan Mostert and Neil Schietekat are joined by current Sunshine Tour winners Luca Filippi, Robin Williams, Malcolm Mitchell, Rupert Kaminski and a host of others in a strong field that also includes the rising stars of the local game.
It was on the fairways of Pezula that the Vodacom Origins of Golf series teed off with its first tournament in 2004.
Ulrich van den Berg had only been a professional for five years when he finished second one shot behind Patrick O’Brien in that first tournament. He was back on the putting green at Pezula on Tuesday, returning as a seven-time Sunshine Tour champion.
Jaco van Zyl was also less than three years into his professional career when he finished fifth in that 2004 tournament. He was also at Pezula on Tuesday as a now 15-time winner on the Sunshine Tour – including the 2008 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final.
That first year of the series saw Louis Oosthuizen win a Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament in what was his first victory on the Sunshine Tour.
This week’s field also includes Jean Hugo, the winner of a record 11 Vodacom Origins of Golf titles.
And while over the past two decades the Vodacom Origins of Golf has run like a golden thread through the careers of many Sunshine Tour stars, some are now only beginning to make their mark on the series.
Gerhard Pepler and Jonathan Broomhead, who finished tied third in the Vodacom Origins of Golf opener at Zebula this year, are both second and third respectively on the Fortress Rookie of the Year rankings as they chase victory this week.
Luca Filippi, twice a winner on Tour this year, has finished in the top 10 in the previous three Vodacom Origins of Golf tournaments this year. And young star Yurav Premlall has finished in the top 10 in the last two Vodacom Origins of Golf events. – Michael Vlismas