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31st July 2023

Statement on Distance Model Local Rule (MLR) for Elite Competitions

The Sunshine Tour will continue, as it has always done, to abide by the decisions of the R&A and USGA when it comes to the Rules of Golf and any changes to these rules.

This includes the proposed Model Local Rule related to the roll back of the golf ball to limit its distance.

The Sunshine Tour has always aligned itself with the governing bodies of golf and their shared vision to make decisions that are in the best interests of the global game.

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28th July 2023

KitKat Cash and Carry supports City of Joburg relief effort

KitKat Cash and Carry, a Sunshine Tour partner and sponsor of the KitKat Cash and Carry Pro-Am, has come to the aid of the over 2 000 households affected by the explosion in Lilian Ngoyi Street (formerly Bree Street) in the Johannesburg CBD by providing much-needed food hampers for the affected residents.

The explosion that rocked the city in July left many residents displaced and without water and power.

In a bid to help the City of Joburg’s extensive relief programme, KitKat Cash and Carry has donated 200 food hampers to the emergency efforts.

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22nd April 2023

Q School graduates ready for Tour journeys

The triumph and heartbreak of qualifying school was on display this week with the conclusion of the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School and the Altron Vusi Ngubeni Tournament.

Sean Cronje led the qualifiers at the final stage of the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School at Heron Banks Golf and River Resort, where the top 20 earned their tour cards.

Cronje won on 15 under par with rounds of 72-64-67-66. His nearest challengers were Gerhard Trytsman and Jonathan Broomhead on 12 under par.

“This was my second time now. It’s a very important week so it’s a lot of stress and a lot of people watching. You’ve just got to stay in the moment and just do your thing,” said Cronje.

In the Altron Vusi Ngubeni Tournament at Modderfontein Golf Club, Robin Williams and Teboho Sefatsa finished tied on eight under par after four rounds, one stroke clear of Siyanda Mwandla. Williams then took the title in the playoff. The top 12 and ties earned their tour cards.

“I had a good week at the Stella Artois Players Championship the week before. It was a very scoreable golf course there and I thought I played pretty solid. I knew if I could just continue playing that way and keep my confidence I’d have a good week here,” said Williams.

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13th December 2022

Sunshine Tour pros and fans welcome Mediclinic’s event expertise

Mediclinic, an international private healthcare services group, has been appointed as an official medical services partner to the Sunshine Tour to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Tour professionals, staff and spectators during the season.

“We are very proud to welcome Mediclinic as our partner. Mediclinic is a diversified international private healthcare services group that was founded in South Africa. At the Sunshine Tour we believe that GreatnessBeginsHere, and the global success of Mediclinic from its South African roots is testament to its own greatness in its field,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

The partnership, which is effective until October 2023, will see Mediclinic provide medical services such as on and off-site medical doctors and emergency medical services to all Sunshine Tour events and Challenge Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned events played in South Africa.

Mediclinic provides a wide range of clinical services across its divisions, with recent expansion across care platforms including outpatient consultation services and pre-hospital emergency services, acute care inpatient services, and highly specialised on-site services. In addition, the team is widely recognised for their extensive experience in supporting world class sports events, and for this reason are an obvious selection for this role.

“The health and wellbeing of our players and fans is of paramount importance to the pleasurable experience at Sunshine Tour events and we’re delighted to have such a professional partner as Mediclinic ensure that it remains this way,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour 

Mediclinic’s Chief Marketing Officer, Dr Biren Valodia, added that the event partnership with a premium brand such as the Sunshine Tour fits within Mediclinic’s continuum of care journey with sports medicine forming a part of their on-site expertise. “We are extremely proud to be considered the Sunshine Tour’s preferred sports medicine partner. This partnership is testament to the expertise we have built over the years,” said Valodia.

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11th November 2022

Rain tops the leaderboard on day two of Nedbank Golf Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – Rain is a blessing in Africa, and “Africa’s Major” was certainly looking for a blessed celebration of its 40th anniversary. But the second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge had to be suspended on Friday because of lightning and a waterlogged golf course.

Play was first suspended at 11:49 because of a thunderstorm, and it wasn’t able to resume as the Gary Player Country Club was soaked by consistent rain throughout the afternoon.

The second round will resume at 7:45am on Saturday, with the third round to follow after its completion.

New Zealander Ryan Fox and England’s Luke Donald are currently tied for the lead on eight under par through three holes of their second rounds. They are two strokes clear Ross Fisher, Rasmus Højgaard and Guido Migliozzi who also have yet to complete their second rounds. Richard Sterne is currently the leading South African on three under par through 11 holes.

David Williams, the Tournament Director for the DP World Tour, said they have every intention of completing four rounds but are clearly under pressure from the weather.

“We’ll restart at 7:45am everywhere on the golf course and they’ll finish their rounds and then go straight into the third round. In that way we’re probably going to save at least two hours, and with the forecast on Saturday not looking good we need to grab every means to get as much play complete.

“Hopefully if everything goes right we might get the third round done on Saturday. A lot of it is up in the air and we’ll have to see what the weather throws at us. If we get through the third round we’d certainly want to complete four rounds. The forecast is not good for the weekend so we’ll be watching it all closely and trying to make any plans we can to keep this tournament the great success that it always is.”

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5th November 2022

Coetzee chasing second PGA Championship title

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee says there is no magic recipe for winning golf, but the 13-time champion on the Sunshine Tour enjoyed more than a few ounces of inspiration on Saturday as a bogey-free 67 carried him back to the top of the leaderboard after the penultimate round of the PGA Championship at the St Francis Links.

Two birdies on the front nine and three coming in, two of them back-to-back on the 12th and 13th holes, lifted Coetzee to 11-under-par for the tournament and he is one stroke clear of Rhys West, who shot a 68.

Second-round leader Casey Jarvis posted a 71 on Saturday and is on nine-under-par, together with Stefan Wears-Taylor (67), Jake Redman (68) and Hennie Otto (69).

“It wasn’t really my plan to not get any bogeys, I just wanted to play good golf,” Coetzee said. “This course has some teeth and you have to pick those parts where you can be aggressive and where you can’t be aggressive.

“I think I balanced that out quite well, I made pars on the tough holes and birdies on some of the easier holes. Being experienced is more about what you do than what you know.

“But it does help that I am more conservative on a course that I don’t know that well, I kind of stick to how the course wants me to play.

“I think only Tiger Woods really knew how to win, the rest of us are all learning as we go along. I’ve won a few tournaments, but there’s no pattern to it, no magic recipe,” Coetzee said.

Overnight leader Jarvis had two eagles on the front nine, on the par-five third and then holing out with his second on the par-four fifth hole, but after a double-bogey six on the par-four 15th he surrendered the lead to Coetzee.

There are also four golfers on seven-under-par who will be chasing after glory in the final round on Sunday – last week’s winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final Combrinck Smit (66), Luke Jerling (67), Peter Karmis (67) and Martin Vorster (71).

But after all the titles he has won, including the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at De Zalze in August, the 36-year-old Coetzee has clear aims for the final round.

“I will just be trying to make good decisions, try to play decent golf and be excited about playing under pressure,” Coetzee said.

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19th October 2022

Fox, MacIntyre and Migliozzi set for Nedbank Golf Challenge

Recent DP World Tour winners Ryan Fox, Robert MacIntyre and Guido Migliozzi will add further star power to the international field gathering in Sun City for the 40th anniversary edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

New Zealander Fox is currently third in the DP World Tour Rankings in partnership with Rolex thanks to an impressive season that has included wins at the Ras al Khaimah Classic and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Old Course, St Andrews, as well as six further top tens.

The three-time DP World Tour winner will tee it up at Gary Player Country Club for the fourth time from November 10 – 13, 2022, looking for a big finish to the season as he vies to become the first player from New Zealand to be named European Number One.

Fox said: “This is a tournament that I’ve always enjoyed going to, and it’s great to see it back on the schedule. It’s been a positive season for me so far, and I’m looking forward to the last few events, including a trip back to Sun City for the 40th anniversary event.”

MacIntyre will make his second appearance in ‘Africa’s Major’ in November, following a top ten finish in 2019.

The Scot started the qualification process for the 2023 Ryder Cup with a bang last month, winning the DS Automobiles Italian Open at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club – the venue where Europe will take on the United States next September.

The 26-year-old won his second DP World Tour title at the perfect time as he aims to fulfil his dream of a Ryder Cup debut in Rome.

MacIntyre said: “I had a great experience on my debut at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and I can’t believe that it was three years ago now. There’s a lot to play for over the last few events of the season in terms of the DP World Tour Rankings and Ryder Cup qualification, and I’m looking forward to another good week at Sun City.”

The Ryder Cup also featured in Migliozzi’s third DP World Tour win, with the Italian lifting the Open de France trophy at Le Golf National – scene of Europe’s 17.5 – 10.5 victory over the United States in 2018.

He made his debut in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the end of a 2019 season in which he won both the Belgian Knockout and Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa, and returns to a field that also includes European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald, as another impressive year draws to a close.

Migliozzi said: “I’ve only had the chance to play there once, but the Nedbank Golf Challenge is a great week on Tour and I’m glad to see it back on the schedule. It’s the second last event of the season with a lot of points on offer so we’ll be aiming for a big finish.”

The trio of stars join Donald in a field that also includes defending champion and two-time Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood, who lifted the trophy in 2019 – the last time the event took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and South African DP World Tour winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester and Thriston Lawrence.

The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit will also receive a place in the 64-player field at Gary Player Country Club.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been a highlight of the South African sporting calendar since the first edition in 1981, with an impressive list of former winners including the legendary Seve Ballesteros, South African golfing icon Ernie Els and Major Champions such as Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Trevor Immelman and Danny Willett.

The 2022 Nedbank Golf Challenge will once again be included on the DP World Tour schedule in partnership with Nedbank and Sun International, this season as the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. The US$6,000,000 event will also carry an increased number of DP World Tour Ranking Points, with 7,000 points available.

The last edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2019 delivered record attendance figures and sold-out hospitality. Ticketing information for the milestone 40th event will follow in due course.

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18th October 2022

Lawrence back to defend Joburg Open title

South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence has confirmed he will defend his Joburg Open title as this international Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament moves to its new home at Houghton Golf Club from November 24-27, 2022.

Lawrence returns to a tournament where he made Joburg Open and South African golf history last year by becoming the first winner in the new era of the DP World Tour.

The young South African professional has been a perfect example of the Joburg Open’s status as a tournament that opens international doors for its winners.

The victory provided the platform for Lawrence to take his career to the next level as his win also earned him an exemption into his first Major, the historic 150thplaying of The Open Championship in St Andrews this year where he finished tied 42nd. Lawrence also added a second DP World Tour title when he won the Omega European Masters in August this year.

“The Joburg Open is very special to me because it opened so many doors for my career,” said Lawrence.

“It was my first DP World Tour title. It also earned me a place in my first Major, which was a lifelong dream come true for me. To play your first ever Major on the Old Course in St Andrews is an unbelievable dream come true. And then I was able to build on that Joburg Open win and claim my second DP World Tour title this year and secure my place on the Tour,” he explained.

“It changed everything for me. It was the first stepping stone to get to my bigger dreams. From a young age I’ve always wanted to win on the DP World Tour, so I’m extremely grateful for what the Joburg Open has meant to my career and I’m delighted to be able to come back and support the event as the defending champion, “he concluded.

The Joburg Open will once again tee off the DP World Tour’s new season in this world-class African city, and with Houghton Golf Club joining an array of Johannesburg’s finest golf courses to have hosted this tournament.

“We cannot wait to welcome the eyes of the golf world on the City of Johannesburg and we are extremely proud to be the host for the start of the DP World Tour’s new season. The Joburg Open is a perfect representation of the world-class spirit of Johannesburg and its people, and we are excited to once again host some of the finest golfers in the world,” said Executive Mayor, Cllr. Dada Morero.

Tickets for the Joburg Open are available at https://sunshinetour.com/ with the prices ranging from R100 for the Thursday and Friday and R200 for the Saturday and Sunday, or daily access for all four days at R300. There is 50% early bird discount on ticket prices if purchased before the end of October.

“We have a compelling value offering for golf fans at this year’s Joburg Open as we bring together a new host course in Houghton Golf Club and a world-class field of Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour professionals. We are grateful for all the support the City of Johannesburg provides as we take this incredible city and this amazing tournament to worldwide audience,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

Photo: The Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr. Dada Morero, and Sunshine Tour Commissioner Thomas Abt announcing the new home of the Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club.

 

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17th October 2022

Mont Choisy Le Golf set to impress as host of 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

The spectacular Mont Choisy Le Golf will make its international tournament debut on the DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour schedules when it hosts the 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open for the first time during 15-18 December, and golf course designer Peter Matkovich is excited about a course he says will present a fair and exciting challenge for the world’s professionals.

“I think our team did an incredible job in creating a golf course that we love, and which the members and owners are also very happy with. It looks very natural and we’ve used the black volcanic rock that is a feature in the north of the island to create this beautiful contrast with the green grass,” Matkovich said of the only 18-hole championship course in the northern region of Mauritius.

Matkovich’s love for this golf course began almost 16 years ago when he first walked the magnificent Allée des Flamboyants walkway which leads to the Mont Choisy Golf and Beach Estate and envisioned a golf course there.

“It was a special place for me in Mauritius. It was a challenge designing and building the golf course to get the right balance with the volcanic rock, and to also conserve the topsoil and water of the area which is very scarce. The shaping team did an incredible job, and the landscaping team has also ensured that the golf course blends superbly with its environment. My philosophy is to bring golf back into golf course design and we achieved that here with a golf course that places as much emphasis on strategy as it does on the experience.”

Jyoti Jeetun, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Mont Choisy Group, believes Mont Choisy Le Golf will make a tremendous impact as the home of the 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

“Peter and his team at Peter Matkovich Design have done a wonderful job in creating a course that is a visual splendour as well as a delight to play, for both our members and the professionals. Set between the iconic town of Grand Baie and Mon Choisy Beach, it is going to be a privilege for us to showcase this magnificent course to an international audience and the way it complements the ‘Once in a Lifestyle’ proposition the beautiful Mont Choisy Golf and Beach Estate has to offer.”

As a challenge for the professionals, Matkovich and his team have created a golf course that is not overly long at 6 447 metres and with a blend of tough holes offset by some exciting driveable par fours.

“I think in December at the time of the tournament the golf course should play hard and fast, which is what we’d like. I do believe we’ll see good scores from the professionals.”

The 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open returns to the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour schedules for the first time since 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic and has drawn a glittering array of blue-chip sponsors including Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mont Choisy Group, Jaguar, Rogers, Heritage Resorts, IBL, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), 3G Mobile, Phoenix Beverages, Air Mauritius, Mautourco, Fenix Apparel and Hertz.

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15th October 2022

Ferreira breaks through in Blue Label Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – Stephen Ferreira claimed his maiden victory on the Sunshine Tour when he won the Blue Label Challenge by a single point at the Gary Player Country Club on Saturday.

Ferreira finished on a total of 38 points under the modified Stableford scoring system used for the tournament, just one clear of Luca Filippi who pushed him all the way to the final hole.

It was Ferreira’s first victory on the Sunshine Tour since he turned professional in 2011, and after a second-place finish in the SunBet Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club recently, there were signs that he was on the brink of a breakthrough.

“I’m still a bit speechless,” said an emotional Ferreira who struggled to speak during the prizegiving ceremony.

“I’m glad to finally get the win. I love the Gary Player Country Club course. I come here a lot and have finally managed to tame the beast.”

Ferreira’s victory comes at a timely point in the Sunshine Tour season as it moves towards the big summer tournaments.

“It’s huge,” he said of this first win and its significance.

“I’ve been on the Sunshine Tour for a while and have come close a few times. You know, you doubt yourself, but I finally got the win and I’m ecstatic. Luca (Filippi) fought hard today and there were a lot of players close to me going into the final round. I knew I had to go low and make a lot of birdies, which I did. Luca pushed me over the last hole. It was nice to hole that big putt for the victory.”

Pieter Moolman, who was another maiden winner on the Sunshine Tour recently, finished third on 36 points.