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21st February 2024

Sunshine Tour remembers Arnold Mentz

The Sunshine Tour is deeply saddened by the passing of former Commissioner Arnold Mentz.

Arnold was a man with a deep love for the game of golf that shone through in his teaching of the game during his time as head professional of Southbroom Golf Club and Stellenbosch Golf Club, his role as Executive Director of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and a founder trustee of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation.

His desire to see South African golf thrive was given perfect expression in his role as the Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

Even in his later years, Arnold came out of retirement to do what he loved the most – teach golf.

Arnold was a humble servant of our great game who will be sorely missed.

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5th February 2024

Frittelli goes big in Bahrain

Dylan Frittelli won his first DP World Tour title in six years with a two-shot triumph at the Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies.

The South African started the final day at Royal Golf Club with a two-shot lead but was overtaken at the turn and two over for the day after 12 holes as a host of players staked a claim for the trophy.

Frittelli is not a winner on the DP World, PGA and European Challenge Tours for nothing, though, and he made three birdies in four holes from the 13th, signing for a 71 and finishing at 13 under.

Countryman Zander Lombard and Swede Jesper Svensson were his nearest challengers after rounds of 68 and 70 respectively, two shots clear of another South African in Ockie Strydom and Frenchman Frederic Lacroix.

Frittelli enjoyed a fine amateur career, holing the winning putt as the University of Texas won the national collegiate championship in the United States in 2012.

A Challenge Tour graduate in 2016, he won the LYONESS OPEN powered by ORGANIC+ and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in 2017 before moving to the PGA TOUR and taking the title at the 2019 John Deere Classic.

After a difficult 2023 which left him contemplating his future, he said this week he was “invigorated” to be back on the DP World Tour after taking up a route for those who finished outside the top 125 on the FedExCup Fall Points List and he has now been rewarded with a first worldwide victory since the summer of 2019.

“It feels great, it feels awesome,” said Frittelli, who missed the cut or withdrew from 23 of his 27 starts on the PGA TOUR last season. “It’s been a long road the last five or six years since I left the DP World Tour and went to the States. It was a pretty tough year last year in America but it feels awesome to back on top right now.

“Last year I was in a couple of spots where I thought I was giving the game up to be honest and looking for something else.

“I found some resolve at the end of last year and got some good work from my physio and my coaches and trainers. I’m glad I persevered and all the support from family and friends has been well worth it.”

He added: “I think it shows my mental toughness, it shows the focus I have and those things that you can’t really quantify. I was swinging it great all week and then all of a sudden couldn’t hit it on the planet on the Sunday round so I’m glad I managed to have the resolve.”

Svensson started the day three shots off the lead but a 24-footer at the second and a lovely approach using the contours of the green at the fourth had him within one.

Strydom recovered from a bogey on the fifth with an approach to 14 feet at the next and an excellent tee-shot on the seventh, and that had him in a three-way tie as Frittelli three-putted the par three.

Svensson and Strydom then both took advantage of the par-five ninth – Svensson finding the green in two and Strydom holing a 21-footer to get up and down – but the 39-year-old bogeyed the tenth and 11th to fall back.

Svensson also dropped a shot on the 11th after sending his tee-shot right but Frittelli missed the green on the 12th to leave him alone at the top.

At that point Frittelli was in a four-way tie one shot off the lead but it was soon a three-man group as Lombard moved to the summit.

After a bogey on the first, the 29-year-old birdied the third after laying up, put an approach to 11 feet at the fifth and got up and down on the ninth.

A tee-shot to tap-in range on the 12th had him in double figures and two putts on the 14th had him on top but Svensson made a two-putt gain of his own on the 13th to edge back ahead.

A three-putt from over 80 feet on the 15th dropped Lombard two back and Frittelli was once again the nearest challenger after a smart up and down on the 13th.

Svensson then made an awful mess of the 14th, going from waste area to sand to a tricky lie as he dropped a shot, handing the lead back to Frittelli who made a two-putt gain after a 398-yard tee-shot.

A 42-foot putt on the 16th moved Frittelli two ahead and while Lombard birdied the 17th from eight feet, he had to settle for a seventh DP World Tour runner-up finish as the leader held his nerve.

Strydom bogeyed the 15th on his way home in a 73, while Lacroix had a birdie-birdie finish in his 70.

Canadian Aaron Cockerill and Swede Sebastian Söderberg finished at eight under, a shot clear of Danes Rasmus Højgaard and Niklas Nørgaard, Swiss Joel Girrbach and Frenchman Julien Guerrier. – DP World Tour

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25th January 2024

Potgieter is youngest winner in Korn Ferry Tour history

Aldrich Potgieter, 19, has become the youngest winner in Korn Ferry Tour history.

Potgieter etched his name into golf lore Wednesday at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club, carding 10-under 278 for a two-stroke victory over Quade Cummins and Kyle Westmoreland.

Potgieter (19 years, 4 months, 11 days) surpasses Jason Day for the record as the Korn Ferry Tour’s youngest winner. The precocious South African also becomes the youngest winner on either the PGA TOUR or Korn Ferry Tour since Ralph Guldahl at the 1931 Santa Monica Open (19 years, 2 months, 3 days).

After 20-year-old Nick Dunlap’s victory at The American Express last week, the youth movement in professional golf is in full force.

Additionally, Potgieter is the fourth teenager to win on the Korn Ferry Tour, joining Day, Sungjae Im and Akshay Bhatia. The previous three are all PGA TOUR winners, with Day winning 13 TOUR titles, Im winning two TOUR events, and Bhatia capturing his first TOUR title at the 2023 Barracuda Championship while playing on Special Temporary Membership.

“I was just trying to make the cut… improve on the status. I didn’t expect this today,” Potgieter said. “I was looking at the leaderboard a couple times and just trying to move up, move up slowly and give myself some chances on the putting green. I felt really comfortable, gave myself those opportunities and holed some of them.

“We saw Nick Dunlap win last week, and that was a reminder that it can be done,” Potgieter said. “I’m just happy to be playing here and to get the opportunity to play here. To make history, that’s just another bonus on top of the win.”

Potgieter began the final round at 3-under par and five strokes behind 54-hole leader Kyle Westmoreland.

After birdies on three of the first four holes, Potgieter bounced back from a bogey at the par-4 seventh with an eagle at the par-5 eighth. A three-putt bogey at the par-3 10th would be Potgieter’s only stumble on the back nine, and he countered it with birdies at the par-4 12th and par-5 14th.

Having pulled even with Quade Cummins, the clubhouse leader at 8-under par who could only watch the leaderboard after he carded a 7-under 65 for the low round of the tournament, Potgieter birdied the par-4 16th for the outright lead. Potgieter closed out the victory and a final-round 7-under 65 with a birdie at the par-5 18th.

Windy conditions made scoring difficult for much of the week, as Potgieter’s winning total of 10-under 278 marked the second-highest winning score in the seven iterations of the event. Only Rafael Campos’ 7-under 281 en route to victory in 2019 was a higher winning total at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club.

Potgieter turned professional last summer following a solo-64th finish at the 2023 U.S. Open. His amateur career included a breakthrough victory at the 2022 Amateur Championship, where, roughly three months before his 18th birthday, he became the second-youngest winner in the history of the storied event.

“I was playing really good golf from a young age, so I thought, from my view, college was like an extra four years of preparing to become professional,” Potgieter said. “I know they have great opportunities, great teams behind them, and you can see a lot of the players are coming from college teams are doing really good. That was an option, but I wanted to get the experience done and just make sure my game is good enough, and just grind it out… learn stuff these guys are going to have to learn now coming out of college.

“After winning (The Amateur), I had to make that decision, and I thought turning pro was a good one.”

Ironically, Potgieter made his professional debut at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Compliance Solutions Championship, finishing T35 as a sponsor exemption a week after his final start as an amateur at the U.S. Open. A week later, Potgieter made his first PGA TOUR start as a professional at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which he played via a sponsor exemption. Three weeks later, Potgieter Monday qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour’s NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank.

Potgieter’s made cut at the U.S. Open also granted him an exemption to Second Stage of 2023 PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry. Playing at the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club site in Valdosta, Georgia, Potgieter won by four strokes, earning him guaranteed starts for the first eight events of the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour season.

Although Potgieter missed his first opportunity at a PGA TOUR card at Final Stage of PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry (he finished T81, and only the top five and ties earned TOUR membership), it may not be long before he earns a promotion to golf’s biggest stage.

“Now it’s just adapting to playing every week,” Potgieter said, before noting what he will focus on for the remainder of 2024 as a fully exempt member. “Just keeping the mind straight and moving forward every week, and just forgetting the bad stuff, and trying to move forward every day.” – Korn Ferry Tour (Image: Getty).

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17th December 2023

AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open inspires growth of golf in Mauritius

After seven editions, the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open has made an undoubted impact inside the ropes as one of the most popular Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournaments, but it’s impact outside the ropes on the youth of Mauritius is also being felt.

This year’s tournament at the spectacular La Réserve Golf Links included a golf clinic in association with the Mauritius Golf Federation, the AfrAsia Bank Foundation and the local chapter of the global charity Caritas.

Roughly 50 children from diverse backgrounds gathered on the driving range and were given an introduction to golf by several professionals who competed this week as part of a general focus on growing the game amongst the youth on the island.

And the enthusiasm for the game of those who attended surprised even Dylan Frittelli, a former winner of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

“It’s amazing to see how once they’ve figured out the grip and the swing and they hit a good shot, they turn around to their friends and you can just see the pure joy on their faces. Seeing that is pretty cool for us as professionals as well,” said Frittelli.

It’s a feeling Frittelli himself remembers.

“I can remember being six years old and for the first time hitting a ball out of the middle of the club, and that feeling just running through your hands and up your arms. That’s the feeling that made me want to always go back to the driving range and made me wake my dad up early in the morning to take me.

“That feeling when you strike a golf ball well for the first time wasn’t a feeling I’d ever had playing any other sports. It’s good to see just how keen the kids here are on golf.”

The golf clinic in partnership with the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open provides a seamless pathway that allows a young Mauritius golfer to be exposed to the game and then see at the highest level where it could take him or her.

And it’s clearly working as the tournament’s aspirational effect has increased participation in golf on the island.

“When we look at the figures, we can see a significant increase in the number of licenses,” said Yannick Merven, President of the Mauritius Golf Federation (MGF). “Compared to last year we have a more than 12% increase in licenses, and especially amongst the juniors where we are seeing growth of more than 25%. The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open definitely contributes to this growth of the game. This tournament creates dreams for our younger generation and for young Mauritians to one day want to compete on tour.”

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13th December 2023

La Réserve Golf Links a unique challenge for AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open field

Both Louis Oosthuizen, the co-designer of La Réserve Golf Links, and Marcel Siem, one of the few professionals to have played it before it hosts this week’s AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, have predicted that the newest golf course on the island will demand a variety of shots from the golfers gathered for the seventh edition of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour event.

In working with renowned golf course architect Peter Matkovich to create this magnificent links-style course, Oosthuizen said he wanted to bring back an element to the professional game he is passionate about.

“I love links golf because I believe in shot-making and I feel there should be more than one way to play a golf course. With links-style golf you’ve got to see the shot, and sometimes it’s not the prettiest shot but it’s the one that will work for you on that particular hole – a lot of shaping and just feeling your way around the golf course. I think in today’s game where it’s often about tee it up and hit it as far as you can, a course like this with the wind here hopefully brings a bit more skill into the game,” he said.

Having played the golf course more than most before this week, Siem concurred that this is exactly what La Réserve Golf Links will demand from the field.

“They’ve done a fantastic job with this golf course,” said Siem, an ambassador of Heritage Golf Club who now lives on the island of Mauritius.

“It will be a tough test. I hope the wind will blow as usual in Mauritius. You have to hit some good shots here, especially when the wind blows. The wind comes off the left most of the time, about 11 or 12 of the holes, so it’s made for a draw player. The fairways and greens are really good, and there are some really tough holes out here.”

The new golf course adds significantly to an AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open that has once again drawn a quality field, including defending champion Antoine Rozner.

“You can’t beat this. It’s just an absolute pleasure to come back here every year. I love the atmosphere in Mauritius and I love the golf courses,” said the Frenchman, whose victory in this event last December led to a memorable rest of the season where he achieved his best finish in a Major of tied 20th in The Open after playing his way into the top five going into the final round.

“My experience of The Open was huge for me. I think that is going to help me a lot for the next chapter of my career. The Majors would be the next step for me, for sure.”

Fellow Frenchman Mattieu Pavon returns to a tournament where he’s also had good finishes, and with the renewed confidence of claiming his first victory on the DP World Tour last season.

“It’s a great experience to come here every year. This is such a beautiful island with some great golf courses, and I think La Réserve Golf Links is very challenging with beautiful views.”

And former AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open champion Dylan Frittelli is back at a tournament that sparked bigger things in his own career.

“My win here in 2017 was huge. I’d played one season on the DP World Tour when I won this event and it propelled me to getting a PGA Tour card the following year, and then I had my win there. Having progressed through the Sunshine Tour, which does a fantastic job with these co-sanctioned events with the DP World Tour, I really look back at this win as having given me those bigger dreams.”

To purchase tickets for the tournament please go to

The 2023 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open has once again drawn a glittering array of blue-chip sponsors, including AfrAsia Bank, Rogers Group, Rogers Hospitality, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, IBL, Beachcomber Resorts and Hotels, Heritage Villas Valriche, Phoenix Beverages, Jacobs Coffee, Pro Carts, Mautourco, KOHLER, Häagen Dazs and Oxenham.

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30th November 2023

Investec SA Open tees off

Richard Wainwright, the Chief Executive Officer of Investec, hit the ceremonial drive to mark the official start of the 2023 Investec South African Open at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate on Thursday.

“We’re very excited for this year’s championship. This event aligns perfectly with our global brand, particularly across the United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa,” said Wainwright.

“This is an iconic event for South Africa. We’re also very excited to be back at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate. It’s an unbelievable venue. This is one of the longest golf courses in the world and the team here are incredibly professional.”

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23rd November 2023

Mayor tees off 2023 Joburg Open

It was a proud moment as the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda, hit the ceremonial tee shot for the 2023 Joburg Open, and which also marked the start of the new season on the DP World Tour at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday.

“It was an exciting moment for me to be so closely associated with a sport that is a major tourist attraction for us,” said the Executive Mayor.

“We’ve been looking forward to this moment for months now and I’m very proud. The City of Johannesburg has a rich history and heritage. We have world-class facilities here and are delighted to welcome professionals from around the world to our city.

“I wish the professionals well and encourage our residents to come and join us for what is going to be a wonderful event.” A total of 155 professional golfers from around the world will be competing at Houghton Golf Club this week for a share of the R20.5 million in prize money.

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22nd November 2023

Rama rewarded with a place in Investec SA Open

Investec, a patron of the Papwa Sewgolum Class for the Sunshine Tour’s transformation professionals, has transferred its Investec South African Open sponsor’s invitation to Class member Nikhil Rama.

Investec’s previous invitee Heinrich Bruiners has now qualified automatically through his own ranking for this championship.

Rama was rewarded with this ‘Out of the Ordinary’ opportunity as the next highest ranked professional in the Papwa Sewgolum Class who was otherwise not exempt for the Investec South African Open to be played at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate from Thursday 30 November to Sunday 3 December.

This opportunity comes during one of Rama’s most successful seasons on the Sunshine Tour. After starting the season with a tied 10th place in the Zanaco Masters he continued his good form with strong finishes on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series, including fifth in the opening tournament at Zebula, fourth in the Western Cape leg of the series and fourth in the final. He added a fourth-place finish in the recent Fortress Invitational.

“I’m very grateful to receive this invitation. It’s an honour to play in our national Open, which is one of the oldest golf tournaments in the world. I’ve been playing really well and I’m very excited to compete at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate,” said Rama.

“I’ve been working really hard on my technique with my coach and it’s now becoming more consistent. I can’t thank Investec enough for this invitation at this time. It’s a great reward after playing some good golf this season.”

Peta Dixon, Head of Sponsorships for Investec, said, “Our drive to ‘never settle for ordinary’ and support the transformation of South African professional golf is given true expression in the awarding of our sponsor’s invitation this year. With Heinrich Bruiners qualifying by virtue of his rankings, it has now allowed us to invite Nikhil Rama to compete and thereby strengthen the presence of the Papwa Sewgolum Class professionals in the Investec South African Open field. This means even more of our young stars will gain invaluable experience playing against international competition.”

“Nikhil has had a wonderful season on the Sunshine Tour so far and it’s a privilege for us to be able to give him this opportunity to see if he can now take that next step up in his career.”

This year’s Investec South African Open will include a host of festivities for golf fans and their families to enjoy.  These include the Sunshine Tour Beat the Pro competition, the daily chance for spectators to win limited edition zebra Converse leather sneakers by walking the Investec Blair Mile during the championship, an opportunity to find one of five mini Investec zebras hidden throughout the course each to the value of R5,000, and a long drive extravaganza after play on Saturday 2 December.

Tickets for the Investec South African Open Championship can be purchased at

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6th November 2023

Inspired Van Rooyen claims second PGA Tour title

The hug was deep and meaningful. Erik van Rooyen was silent as his lengthy eagle putt dropped and he pumped one fist while his caddie Alex Gaugert put both his arms in the air. A silent stare followed between player and caddie. These long-time friends didn’t need to say anything. How could they? Why would they? They already knew.

This one was for Jon.

Jon Trasamar played collegiate golf alongside van Rooyen and Gaugert at the University of Minnesota. They won the 2014 Big Ten Championship as a team, and Trasamar finished tied for third as an individual. He kept clawing away at the grind that is professional golf. Mini-tours, mostly. A caddie gig to help pay the bills. A wife, Allie – they met in 2016 and were married in 2022.

And then melanoma. Cancer. He was in remission, and then, via text on Tuesday, van Rooyen and Gaugert learned the cancer had returned and spread throughout his body. Van Rooyen, after winning his second PGA TOUR title on Sunday at the World Wide Technology Championship, admitted the terrible truth. His friend was not going to make it. He and Gaugert would fly to Minnesota on Monday to see him for, likely, one of the last times. Van Rooyen said his friend has six to 10 weeks left – maybe less.

And that’s life. Real life. He knows the best man at his wedding won’t be around much longer.

“Every shot out there today was for him,” van Rooyen said, minutes after his victory at El Cardonal at Diamante was confirmed.

Van Rooyen admitted Friday after his round he got back to his hotel room and broke down in tears. He said Saturday night a win would “mean everything” because it would secure his job for 2024 – he entered the week at No. 125 on the FedExCup Fall standings, squarely on the bubble to retain TOUR exempt status – and he could go home to see his friend.

As a 19-year-old, van Rooyen left South Africa to attend the University of Minnesota. Trasamar and his family met him at the airport – they lived about two hours away from Minneapolis – and they were college roommates for three years.

“He was like a brother to me,” van Rooyen said.

Van Rooyen gets plenty with this victory – job security and opportunities for big events and nearly $1.5 million – but winning wasn’t the emphasis, he said. He might not have cared whether he won or lost Sunday, but van Rooyen did win. In style, too.

Sunday brought high drama throughout, with four players separated by just a shot into the 72nd hole. But van Rooyen wasn’t playing for himself. He didn’t care about the birdies because he wasn’t thinking about the birdies. His friend, who he loves, was going through something that van Rooyen couldn’t believe.

Before he knew it, van Rooyen had an eagle attempt to win the whole thing. He had made six birdies already in eight holes, including mid-range efforts on Nos. 16 and 17. There was no way he was missing that eagle putt.

An incredible 8-under 28 on the back nine and a 9-under 63 Sunday in Mexico meant a two-shot victory over Matt Kuchar and Camilo Villegas. It was van Rooyen’s second TOUR title, his first coming at the 2021 Barracuda Championship.

It was a trying year, van Rooyen said. Coming into the week, he missed more cuts than he made and was 151st on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Total. He started working with instructor Sean Foley at the U.S. Open and has seen gradual improvement. The results have followed, slowly but surely; he finished tied for sixth at the Barracuda Championship in August, and he arrived in Mexico on the strength of five straight top-25s between the TOUR and DP World Tour.

Things coalesced on Sunday, with fervor.

“Listen,” Kuchar said, “the birdie-birdie-eagle finish is impressive. What was that?. … 8-under par on the final nine holes is quite an awesome finale. Hard to keep up with.

“At the end of the day you tip your hat and say that’s some awesome playing.”

It was indeed.

It was a dedicated triumph. Surround yourself, as the saying goes, only with people who are going to lift you higher.

Erik van Rooyen knew that about Jon Trasamar. No words were needed after that hug with Gaugert. They knew. It was a win for a friend.

“When I kick the bucket one day, whenever that might be, this is not what I’m going to be thinking about,” van Rooyen said. “I’m going to be thinking about the people that I love the most, and Jon Trasamar is one of those people.” – PGA Tour

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Sweet reward as Schietekat winsVodacom Origins Final

KNYSNA, Western Cape – After a challenging few weeks in which he battled with an injury, Neil Schietekat was rewarded with a two-stroke victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at the Pezula Championship Course on Sunday.

Schietekat showed every bit of his experience as he closed with a 67 to win on 15 under par overall, with Jacques P de Villiers finishing second on 13 under following a final round of 70. Hennie O’Kennedy took third place on 10 under par after signing for a 69.

Tara Griebenow finished as the leading Sunshine Ladies Tour professional in the field on five over par with a final round of 75.

It’s been a tough period for Schietekat as he had to carry an injury while still playing in Asia at a critical part in the season. But it culminated in his second victory this season after winning the FBC Zimbabwe Open in May.

“It was a good week and I really want to thank my caddie for sticking with me through this injury and when the golf has struggled. But this brings us both a smile,” said Schietekat, who also won the magnificent prize of a six night Christmas cruise courtesy of MSC Cruises South Africa.

It’s also his second victory on a Vodacom Origins of Golf series that he’s been playing on since he arrived on the Sunshine Tour in 2007. Schietekat came close to adding his name to the illustrious winners on this series when he finished second in 2008 and he had another runner-up finish in 2013. Then in 2018 he won the Western Cape leg of the series.

“This one is definitely a sweet win for me. Vodacom has been part of the Sunshine Tour ever since I started out in 2007. They’ve been a great supporter of the Tour. Without them we wouldn’t have had the playing opportunities we do in the winter. Pezula was also just amazing this week.” – Michael Vlismas