DULLSTROOM, Mpumalanga – Heinrich Bruiners praised his amateur partner Anton Botha for the way he rose to the occasion on their closing holes to win the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series ProAm at Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate on Wednesday.
Bruiners and Botha won by three points in the end, but they were closely pursued by James Hart du Preez and Navin Maharaj, and needed a birdie at their final hole, the par-four 10th, to get them over the line.
“It was really fun and to have a competitive event before our Sunshine Tour tournament is nice,” Bruiners said. “We were in the lead from yesterday and I just said to Anton down the stretch that we needed to be a bit more aggressive and go for the win.
“We had such a good partnership and I thought birdie at the last would be enough. Anton sank his putt for birdie and then I made one too just for a nice finish.
“But I really needed him on the last few holes and he pulled through on four or five holes,” Bruiners said.
With the ProAm now done, the 34-year-old Bruiners will turn his focus to the R1.15 million Vodacom Origins of Golf Sunshine Tour event starting at the mountainous Highland Gate course on Thursday.
“It’s a good omen to win the ProAm and now it’s down to business from tomorrow. I’m swinging well and I finished 11th last week in Pretoria, a bogey at the last cost me a lot, including a top-10 place.
“But it was still a decent performance and now I go into this tournament after playing good golf for two days. Every time I come Mpumalanga or Limpopo side, I seem to play well – it must be something in the air!” the George product said.
He has also been won over by the Highland Gate course.
“When I came four or five years ago, I didn’t enjoy the course so much. I must have been in a very bad mental space though because this course is unbelievable, one of my favourites, definitely in the top-10.
“I’ve got a different perspective now. It’s such a quiet environment out on the course, there’s not so much going on and you feel excluded from all the hustle and bustle,” Bruiners said.
For eight-handicapper Botha, a production manager for Schoeman Boerdery in Groblersdal, his maiden Vodacom Origins of Golf ProAm will give him a lifetime of memories, as well as a place in the final at Pinnacle Point from October 24-27.
“It was just unbelievable, the whole estate and Vodacom’s organisation was amazing. My highlight was the final hole when things were still tight. We both made birdies, I had a three-metre putt, but the monster drive I hit was my best shot of the tournament!” Botha said.