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16th October 2023

Scholtz enters Blue Label winner’s circle with Killarney triumph

Marcel Steyn Scholtz shrugged off a double-bogey on the 12th hole and marched to his maiden Tour victory in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament held at Killarney Country Club on Monday.

He shot an inspired three-under-par 67 to claim a one-shot victory over the duo of Keegan McLachlan and Therion Nel to win his first tournament as a professional. Interestingly, Scholtz never played golf as a junior but began to take the sport seriously in 2017 when he was 23 years old. Before then, he was a rugby player at university.

“I am really stoked to have my first win as a professional,” said Scholtz after his round. “As a child growing up in Limpopo I used to dream of playing professional golf but I never I never had the opportunity to play as a youngster. I just played social golf.

“But, when I finished my degree I was in a good place mentally and physically and that’s when I thought I should take golf seriously. Today, I am happy I made that decision. For some this may be a small win but for me it’s huge because of where I come from. So, I want to say thank you to the Sunshine Tour and Blue Label for making these tournaments for us.”

En route to this memorable win at Killarney, Scholtz fired in a bogey-free 32 on the front nine of this par-70 layout. He made birdies on the second hole, the par-five fifth and the eighth holes to turn with an unblemished scorecard.

Then the round was suspended due to an approaching storm.

Coming home, the 29-year-old Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate made another birdie on 11 but a double on the 12th threatened his progress. Scholtz steadied himself, making back-to-back pars in the next two holes. He found his groove again on the 15th, a par-five, and made further gains to finish his round on three-under 67 and go home victorious.

“I gave myself a lot of chances today,” he said. “This is a good golf course and you need to place it well off the tee. The approach shots are also very important here if you want to give yourself a chance on the greens. But the key for me was in and around the greens. I rolled in a few nice putts today and that was down to creating good opportunities for myself. That was my goal today; to create as many opportunities for myself and I did that well.

“A win is a win, no matter what tournament you are playing. For me, this win comes at the right time and I think it will give me confidence going into Wild Coast this week.”

Scholtz is in the field of the Sunshine Tour’s Wild Coast event this week and following his win in testing weather conditions, he will have every right to look forward to what that tournament brings.

“When the wind was up this morning, I played nicely and I was controlling the ball nicely,” Scholtz noted. “I was hitting good shots and shaping them the way I wanted. I think that is important at Wild Coast. The way you shape your shots and controlling your ball flight and the spin is very important because of the weather there. But, I will be ready and I am looking forward to going at it again.”

The Blue Label Development Tour is another Sunshine Tour initiative designed to afford players more playing opportunities.

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For the Love of Golf and Law: Motsa’s Balancing Act

The game of professional golf is challenging, demanding, and often frustrating, and juggling that with any other profession becomes a tall order for many. In certain instances, for some individuals, both professions tend to suffer if not well taken care of.

Enter Ricco Motsa.

The 49-year-old member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class is a multi-tasking master. Motsa, born and raised in the rural areas of Barberton, is not just a regular professional golfer. He is also a practicing lawyer, boasting two law firms; one in Alberton and the other in Nhlazatshe near Badplaas.

“I was admitted as a lawyer in 2005,” Motsa revealed ahead of his tee-off time in this week’s Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament at Killarney Country Club on Monday. “I have, for the better part of my life, known only law. As a youngster, I was not exposed to golf.

“After matric, I was fortunate enough to do my first law degree which took me four years and later on, I did my second degree in LLB at Vista University. Obviously, for me, law comes first because it pays the bills, but both professions are like two employers demanding equal attention.”

Motsa’s golfing journey didn’t begin until July of 2013. His brother, Sifiso, introduced him to the gentlemen’s game, and after a few outings as an amateur, Motsa met professionals Thabang Simon and James Kamte, who were already household names in the local golfing scene.

“I got very close to Thabang, and he did a lot to help me with my game,” he added, “and later my brother convinced and motivated me to enter the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Motsa turned professional in 2022, and having now attained his Sunshine Tour playing card, Motsa’s biggest challenge was to begin. While he already had a busy schedule thanks to his work, professional golf brought its demands and forced Motsa into a strict time-management regime.

“My daily routine starts at 4 am, even if I have a tournament,” revealed Motsa, “I must start at the office first and then go for practice before starting a tournament. I always worry if I have a tournament only to find that the court sent me a hearing date. I am so worried about double bookings. So, the biggest challenge for me is that I have no control over the dates of either a tournament or a court case.”

Despite his hectic schedule, Motsa remains inspired and committed to both professions. Having been exposed to the strict demands of courts and judges, Motsa thrives under the pressure that comes with golf in particular.

“I know very well that talent alone is not enough,” he says. “Hard work is vital. Fortunately, law taught me to read a lot, and judges would want heads of arguments to be submitted before 5 a.m. in some cases. So this helped me to accept the challenges in golf.”

In golf, however, challenges never end. As a member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, the Sunshine Tour’s transformation initiative aimed at providing more support – technical and financial – to the players of color, Motsa understands the struggles that come with professional golf for previously disadvantaged communities.

His dream is to see more players of color being given adequate opportunities to play and proper support to grow within the game.

“I wish to see players of color being afforded help and be encouraged to work hard, but players also need to take criticism and take responsibility for their careers,” he says. “I get so much inspiration from the players of color when we play on Tour.

“We have formed an association called the Professional Golfers of Colour Association. We all contribute money into one pool and then use it to cater for our accommodation and travelling on tour as members. This is one of my biggest inspirations, and I feel like we have become brothers, and I love that brotherhood.”

Motsa isn’t just an inspiration to the young boys and girls from his rural village in Barberton; he is a shining light to fellow members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class and is a personification of hard work and determination.

While his may seem to be an impossible balancing act, Motsa’s willpower and impeccable work ethic are nothing short of inspirational, and many youngsters could benefit from role models of his nature.

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10th October 2023

Molloyi wins maiden Tour title at Waterkloof

Tumelo Molloyi became the latest member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class to brace the Sunshine Tour winner’s circle after his four-under 68 earned him a one-shot victory in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day event at Waterkloof Golf Club on Monday.

Until Monday’s win, Molloyi’s season had been a tale of struggles and missed opportunities. He had missed the cut in each of the 10 tournaments he’d played up to this point but the gods of golf would favour him in Pretoria on Monday.

“It took me a while to realise that I have won,” revealed Molloyi. “I had a four-foot putt for birdie on the last and I thought if I got to five-under, I’d have a chance. I hit a very good putt but it lipped out and I was four-under. I was among the first guys off today, so it was a very nervy hour of waiting. But I am very happy for this win and to do it with the score I shot today was also special for me.”

His round consisted of birdies on the third hole, an eagle on the par-five seventh and a birdie on 13.

“I think I missed two or three greens today. As I hit my tee shot on 17, I realised that I was bogey-free. It’s probably the first time I shoot a bogey-free round in a tournament, so that makes it two wins for me today.”

Molloyi is not oblivious to the reality of his struggles so far in the season, however. He attributes this to technical changes he is undergoing and insists that the string of poor results will soon be a thing of the past.

“About two months ago, I made a coaching change and you know with change, some things take longer to click together; it’s a process,” he said. “Even today, I didn’t play perfect golf and my driver was off the whole day but I managed to miss in the right places. Look, it’s a work in progress but I am just happy that my game is trending in the right direction. I’ve started to putt really nicely, which I have not done in over three years. There’s still a lot of work to be done but things will come together soon.”

This win marks the first professional win for the Jackal Creek Golf and Country Club player. It also represents a momentous chapter for the Papwa Sewgolum Class as it shows that with proper investment and support, success is truly inevitable. Moreover, Molloyi’s win is testimony that with a solid development structure in place, talent can be nurtured to thrive over time.

Molloyi is a graduate of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) which was founded by businessman and philanthropist, Johann Rupert, with the aim of taking the game of golf to the grassroots level and making it accessible to everyone.

With his victory here, Molloyi joins fellow members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class – Toto Thimba Jnr, Franklin Manchest, Jacquin Hess and Fezekile Kana among others – as members of that transformation initiative who boasts wins on any Sunshine Tour-sanctioned tournament.

“This is huge for me,” added Molloyi as members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class embraced him while showering him with congratulations. “I know there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of competitions, but this moment is really big for me and I want to thank the Sunshine Tour and Blue Label for making it happen.”

Molloyi will now turn his attention to the Sunshine Tour where he will be aiming to replicate this success on a much bigger stage. Having tasted victory at this point, Molloyi will head into the next Sunshine Tour event beaming with confidence.

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Deyzel dazzles to victory at Services

Werner Deyzel carded an impressive eight-under-par to claim a three-shot victory over Uganda’s Ronal Rugumayo in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day event at Services Golf Club on Thursday.

The Woodhill Country Club player, Deyzel, had come close to winning a Sunshine Tour event twice this season, with third-place finishes at Reading Country Club two days ago and in the Altron Bigg Easy Tour at Huddle Park Golf Club last month. On Thursday in the country’s capital city, Werner looked sharp and assured in his play and was not to be denied.

Birdies on the first hole, the second and another on the fourth characterised a bogey-free front nine of 33 for Werner, giving him some freedom to express himself coming home. A par after the turn preceded a run of five birdies on the spin before a bogey on his halted Werner’s progress. He steadied himself on the 17th and made par there before sealing his round with a birdie.

“I struggled a lot on Tuesday at Reading and I wasn’t playing well,” said Werner, detailing the differences to his performance this week, “but today, I was hitting the ball really well and I was putting really well.

“In the all years we have played here, Services has always been a good scoring course. But you have to hit it well off the tee and putt just as well and I think I managed to do that today. I am very happy with myself and I am happy with the way I played today.”

A first-time winner on this development circuit, Werner will feel, more than ever before, that he has what it takes to compete and win against the elite of the sport. After all, the competition in this series is as fierce as they come and winning here is ever so tough.

“This win means a lot to me because I have been playing good golf over the last couple of months and I am very happy to pull this off,” he said.

Second-placed Rugumayo will be just as happy with his results on Thursday. The Ugandan sensation seems to have settled and is beginning to build momentum. His round of seven-under-par 65 at Services will give him some confidence as the season progresses.

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Vorster breaks through with playoff victory at Reading Country Club

Leon Vorster made par on the first hole of sudden death against Keegan McLachlan to claim his maiden Sunshine Tour win in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day event that was played at Reading Country Club on Tuesday.

Both players finished on five-under 66 in regulation thereby necessitating a playoff to decide the winner of this second event in this series. McLachlan was first in the clubhouse after his round of 66 and looked set for another victory in Alberton following his win in the Altron Big Easy Tour here last season. It was not to be.

While his eventful round of 66 – five birdies and two bogeys – looked good enough to hand him a straight win here, Vorster popped up with a 66 of his own to force a playoff. Vorster’s round consisted of six birdies and a solitary drop.

“I started very well on the front nine with no mistakes, really,” said an elated Vorster. “I missed a few short putts but I wasn’t too bothered because I knew I was playing good golf. On the back nine, I tried to keep calm and give myself good chances and apart from that one bogey, I think I did that very well.

“It was important that I didn’t miss the fairways and greens because you can score well here if you keep it in play. And the greens are very fast this week, so it becomes tough to up-and-down if you miss the greens. But I am happy with how I played and I’m proud of myself because I’ve put in so much hard work into my game the last few months and to see the results starting to show, is a positive sign.”

The Vryburg Golf Club member will take a lot of confidence from his showing here and with another Blue Label Development Tour event coming up in just two days, Vorster will fancy his chances.

“A win like this, via a playoff, definitely gives you confidence, he said, “because it’s not easy out here. Keegan is a solid player and to win against such players is special. It’s a special feeling to win your first tournament and I want to thank Blue Label and the Sunshine Tour for giving us these opportunities to play regularly.”

The third tournament in the series will be played at Services Golf Club on Thursday.

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Albertse targets Sunshine Tour after Blue Label triumph

Rigardt Albertse has set his sights on earning his Sunshine Tour playing privileges after his breakthrough victory in the Blue Label Tour’s one-day tournament held at Huddle Park Golf and Recreation on Monday.

The Blue Label Tour is in its second season, having been launched by the Sunshine Tour last year to create more playing opportunities for its members.

Albertse became the latest winner on this developmental circuit thanks to his nine-under 63 round and now, the Dundee Golf Club member aims to emulate that success on the Sunshine Tour itself.

“The win gave me a lot of confidence,” said Albertse, “because I aim to get my Sunshine Tour through the Big Easy Tour and I think I’m around the top five in the order of merit. It felt like the putter owed me something this week and when I was out there, I just wanted to make as many putts as possible.”

With his win at Huddle Park, Rigardt joins his brother, Louis, in a Sunshine Tour winner’s circle. And, having received an invite to the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament which will be hosted at Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, Albertse will be eager to test himself against the best.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Albertse, “but I’m happy to be going there after a win. The Big Easy prepares you for these kinds of situations. This week felt like a real preparation for the VOG and I’m looking forward to competing again and seeing where it all goes.”

The second tournament in the Blue Label Development series will be played on September 25th at a venue which is yet to be confirmed while the third event will be at Waterkloof Golf Club three days later.

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10th August 2022

Sunshine Tour announces new Blue Label Development Tour

The Sunshine Tour has announced another major step towards its development objectives with the launch of the new Blue Label Development Tour, a series of 10 18-hole tournaments to be played in Gauteng and teeing off this August.

The Blue Label Development Tour is a significant expansion of playing opportunities for recognised development professionals and will draw players from the Altron Big Easy Tour, the Sunshine Tour Qualifying Schools, the Altron Vusi Ngubeni Tournament and the Sunshine Tour Luno Order of Merit under various categories of eligibility.

Each tournament will be played on a Monday and will feature a field of 85 professionals playing for a prize fund of R50 000, with the top 10 earning a cheque.

In order to limit the expenditure for the professionals, all the tournaments will be played in Gauteng and there will be no entry fees.

The Blue Label Development Tour is an expansion of Blue Label’s already significant investment in the Sunshine Tour through the hosting of the Blue Label Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.

Larry Nestadt, Independent Non-Executive Chairman of Blue Label, said: “I’m so excited that the Blue Label Challenge has grown to include the Blue Label Development Tour and what is now a hugely significant contribution to the development of professional golf in South Africa. It’s an honour for us to be able to provide these playing opportunities for development players, and in so doing to truly transform their careers and redefine what they themselves even believed could be possible through the game of golf.”

Brett Levy and Mark Levy, join CEOs of Blue Label, said: “We are proud to be associated with the Blue Label Challenge, and are now extremely excited about this extension of that vision into the Blue Label Development Tour where we can grow our investment into professional golf and our vision for a truly transformed professional golf landscape in South Africa.”

Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said: “This is a real gamechanger in terms of yet another opportunity for our development players to make use of the local pathways to get onto the Sunshine Tour. Blue Label has provided the perfect example of how we can work together to truly unlock the greatness in all facets of the professional game.”

Blue Label Development Tour Schedule

15 August : Waterkloof Golf Club

22 August : ERPM Golf Club

5 September : Kempton Park Golf Club

19 September : Modderfontein Golf Club

22 September : Services Golf Club

26 September : Benoni CC

17 October : State Mines Country Club

20 October : Venue to be confirmed

24 October : Wingate Park Country Club

27 October : Venue to be confirmed