14th September 2023

Paulse believes Libbok has Tiger Woods’ x factor

STELLENBOSCH, Western Cape – Former Springbok Breyton Paulse has likened flyhalf Manie Libbok to Tiger Woods in the x factor that he brings to rugby and his ability to put his mistakes behind him.

Speaking at the Sunshine Tour pro-am of this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at the Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate, Paulse said the constant questioning of Libbok at flyhalf for the Springboks in their Rugby World Cup campaign in France needs to be put to bed now.

“Whether you like him or not, Manie is doing amazing things on the field. He is a player with that x factor. I would take a player with that x factor any given day. I spoke to John Dobson, coach of the DHL Stormers, recently and he told me how Manie has this incredible ability that when he makes a mistake he forgets it and moves on within seconds. It takes a special athlete to be able to do that. Tiger Woods did it in golf,” said Paulse.

“I think people don’t appreciate enough what Manie does off the ball as well and the way he creates and assists tries. That’s why the Springbok management backs Manie.”

According to Paulse, Libbok and several other players in this current Springbok team make it a more dangerous proposition than the 2019 side that won the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“I believe this team is much more dangerous than the one in 2019. You have players like Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse, André Esterhuizen and Cheslin Kolbe who like to run. So the Springboks will kick because that’s part of their DNA, but when it’s on they will have a go and then you have someone like Manie part of that. Add to the fact that Rassie Erasmus is currently living rent free in the other coaches heads, and with this whole demeanour the other teams are really starting to fear us. That’s a big positive off the field.” – Michael Vlismas


13th September 2023

De Beer ready to challenge again in Vodacom Origins Devonvale

STELLENBOSCH, Western Cape – A pro-am tee time with the Sunshine Tour commissioner in this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at the Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate is enough indication that rookie professional Kyle de Beer has made more than a few people take notice of his strong start on the Tour.

The 25-year-old former top South African amateur announced himself with an incredible debut on the Sunshine Tour in August’s Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge, where De Beer led for most of the tournament before finishing fourth.

That performance earned him a place in this week’s 54-hole Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament, which tees off in the winelands on Friday.

More importantly, it confirmed what De Beer has believed ever since he turned professional.

“I know from my experience as an amateur playing in professional tournaments that I can compete. So as a pro, I knew that if I just stuck to my processes I could compete and score well on the Sunshine Tour,” he said on Wednesday.

There was certainly no doubt about his ability following rounds of 63 and 65 to lead the Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge, and it was really just a run of four bogeys over the turn for a final round of 73 that cost him a first victory in his first event as a professional on the Tour that week.

“It was a fantastic week. I was actually just grateful to be there and receive the invitation. To play good golf was amazing. It wasn’t the result I wanted but I learnt a lot. Having been in that situation now, I think I’ll handle it better the next time.”

This week offers another perfect opportunity for De Beer to test himself against a typically strong Sunshine Tour field including eight of the last 11 winners on Tour, and with a selection of the leading women’s professionals on the Sunshine Ladies Tour also competing for the same prize money as part of the series’ groundbreaking move to a mixed event this year.

“I’m really looking forward to it. The course is looking very good despite all the rain they’ve had. I’m just really looking forward to another opportunity to compete on the Sunshine Tour. I’ve got enough proof that I can compete, and it’s just a matter of trying to not feel too intimidated. It’s not a one-on-one situation out here. It’s just a case of reminding myself that it’s not me against 120 other professionals this week. It’s me against the golf course.

“So I’m just focused on taking it one week at a time, and I’ll keep trying to fast track my career with one or two more good performances.” – Michael Vlismas


Global opportunities for 2023 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open champion

The winner of this year’s AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will unlock a host of new global opportunities in a tournament that has always played a key role in the career growth of its champions.

Through its status as the final tournament on the DP World Tour’s Opening Swing that marks the start of the new season, the 2023 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at the spectacular La Réserve Golf Links from 14-17 December will be the scene of a double triumph come the Sunday afternoon.

Beyond the winner of the tournament, the Opening Swing will also have its own Order of Merit which will conclude in Mauritius. The leading professional on this Order of Merit will win an extra $200 000 and, if already a member of the DP World Tour, an invitation into the DP World Tour’s next scheduled Rolex Series tournament as well as a spot in each of the DP World Tour’s Back Nine series of nine high-profile tournaments.

All of which could make a week in Mauritius this December a truly career-defining one.

It’s in keeping with the history of this tournament as the spark behind the rise of the careers of many of its champions.

Every single previous winner of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open is now a multiple winner on the DP World Tour, while some have also gone on to win on the PGA Tour.

Danish professional Rasmus Højgaard made his DP World Tour breakthrough when he won the 2019 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, becoming the third youngest winner in DP World Tour history after Matteo Manassero and Danny Lee, and in just his fifth start on the tour. He went on to win a further three DP World Tour titles and was in contention for a place on the European Ryder Cup team this year.

Frenchman Antoine Rozner lost the playoff to Højgaard in 2019 when he was still competing on the European Challenge Tour. He returned in 2022 to win the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open by a commanding five strokes – the largest margin of victory in the tournament’s history – to cement his status as a rising start of the DP World Tour. The victory in Mauritius marked a personal record of Rozner having won a tournament every year for three years in succession since earning his DP World Tour card in 2020.

South African Dylan Frittelli’s victory in the 2017 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open was his second DP World Tour title. It was a win that lifted him to just outside the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and it put him on a path to winning on the PGA Tour a year later in the John Deere Classic and challenging in the Majors with a finish of tied fifth in The Masters in 2020 and fifth in The Open in 2021.

American Kurt Kitayama claimed his maiden DP World Tour title in the 2018 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on his way to later winning the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour and finishing tied fourth in The PGA Championship this year. He now occupies a place in the top 30 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

For early champions George Coetzee (2015) and Wang Jeung-hun (2016), the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open also formed part of multiple DP World Tour wins in their careers.

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 and KOHLER.


12th September 2023

Fortress Invitational celebrates new format, tougher competition, greater purse

The Fortress Invitational will celebrate its second season on the Sunshine Tour with a new 72-hole format, an increase in prize money and a bigger field including South Africa’s most promising young stars coming together on the historic fairways of Glendower Golf Club in a month’s time.

The growth of the tournament will also play a key role in the new Fortress Rookie of the Year battle, with the next generation of Sunshine Tour talent also chasing the R200 000 bonus awarded by the logistics real estate powerhouse to the leading rookie at the end of the current season.

This incentive is open to those who earned their Sunshine Tour card for the 2023/24 season by way of the Qualifying School, the Altron Vusi Ngubeni Development Tournament, the Blue Label Development Tour and the Altron Big Easy Tour. The Fortress Rookie of the Year will be crowned at the Sunshine Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship.

The tough Glendower Golf Club, the country’s eighth-ranked course and a host of several prestigious amateur and professional tournaments, stands in their way as a worthy new home for a tournament which is also fast entrenching itself on the Sunshine Tour schedule.

“Our partnership with the Sunshine Tour is based on our beliefs of powering growth. We believe in our local players and their drive to succeed, and welcome friends and family from far and wide to witness the unearthing of new talent and the growth of greatness. This is an unforgiving course, with a hotly contested field, and with free entrance for spectators throughout we’re in for a real treat of sublime golf,” said Steven Brown, CEO of Fortress Real Estate.

The list of early entries for the 2022 Fortress Invitational includes the experience of Daniel van Tonder (2021 SA Open winner), Neil Schietekat (FBC Zimbabwe Open winner) and Hennie Otto (SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun City) as well as other champions this year such as Robson Chinhoi (Zanaco Masters), Louis Albertse (KitKat Cash and Carry Pro-Am) and leading rookies Jonathan Broomhead and Gerhard Pepler.

“We’re delighted to see the growth of the Fortress Invitational in such a short space of time. This is a reflection of their passion for golf and belief in the future potential and greatness that is inherent to the Sunshine Tour. This year’s tournament will indeed be a celebration of this growth and a tangible indication of what happens when talent meets opportunity,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

The “Beat the Pro” challenge will be another exciting feature at the tournament, and fans can register at to see if they can beat the tee shots of the professionals and win a trip to Mauritius.


11th September 2023

Nedbank Golf Challenge to return as part of 2025 Race to Dubai

The DP World Tour, Nedbank and Sun International today announce an extended agreement which will see the Nedbank Golf Challenge played in honour of Gary Player for the next three years.

This year’s edition of ‘Africa’s Major’ will be the penultimate event on the 2023 Race to Dubai before the tournament returns to its traditional December date in 2024- forming part of the 2025 Race to Dubai – where it will remain for the following two years as part of today’s agreement.

South African legend Gary Player has been associated with the event since its formation in 1981, when he was part of a five-man field for its inaugural staging, and the event will, from 2024, be officially held in honour of the nine-time Major Champion in recognition of his contribution to the global game, similar to events held on the PGA TOUR in honour of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer with The Memorial Tournament and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  

The 2023 tournament will be held from November 9-12 at Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, and will boast a strong field including defending champion Tommy Fleetwood, his countryman and Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose and two-time Major winner Justin Thomas alongside a host of stars of the DP World Tour, thus highlighting the global appeal of the tournament.

Player, who has over 150 professional wins to his name during a glittering 70-year career, said: “It is with such a deep sense of gratitude that we can look forward to the future of a tournament that we started with nothing more than a dream, and which now over four decades later is a dream shared and enjoyed by so many.

“The legacy of a tournament such as this reflects the legacy of the many great people involved who through their passion for this event have seen it thrive. ‘Africa’s Major’ is all about the spirit of South Africa to overcome and inspire, and I am truly humbled to be a part of something that for one week every year at Sun City brings us all together in celebration of this spirit.”

Mike Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Nedbank, said: “Nedbank has a long-standing history with the Nedbank Golf Challenge, from being the official banking partner in the tournament’s early days to becoming the title sponsor of ‘Africa’s Major’, and this renewal continues our proud association with this event.

“The Nedbank Golf Challenge is one of South Africa’s iconic sport and entertainment events that showcases the very best of our country on the global stage. Similarly, Gary Player has been an incredible ambassador for our country on the global stage for decades and it is a fitting tribute that the Nedbank Golf Challenge is played in honour of the status he has as one of South Africa’s greatest sportsmen and the drive behind this tournament since it was first played in 1981.

“The longevity of our title partnership is a rare occurrence in world sport and reflects a shared interest with our partners Sun International and the DP World Tour for hosting a tournament that is as sustainable as it is successful, and which continues to inspire and excite generations of golfers and golf fans in South Africa and around the world.”

Anthony Leeming, Chief Executive Officer of Sun International, said: “We are extremely excited to announce the renewal of a tournament that has always been at the very core of Sun City’s global presence as one of the world’s leading resorts. The Nedbank Golf Challenge remains one of our flagship events at undoubtedly our flagship resort.

“I’d like to thank our partners Nedbank, the DP World Tour and Gary Player for their continued support of the Nedbank Golf Challenge as we keep moving the tournament forward into exciting new eras in the game and keep showcasing the wonders of not only Sun City but also our beautiful country to our international audience.”

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the DP World Tour, said: “What Gary Player has achieved both on and off the golf course during his magnificent career is incredible and it is therefore fitting that we are able to hold one of Africa’s most celebrated tournaments in his honour. I would like to thank Mr Player for his commitment to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which would also not be the success it is without the support of Nedbank and Sun International.

“It is a tournament that has been one of the highlights on the DP World Tour since it first became part of our schedule ten years ago and we are delighted that today’s announcement will see the event continue until 2026.”

In addition to exempt DP World Tour members, the 2025 Nedbank Golf Challenge, held in December 2024, will look to incorporate leading players from the FedExCup Standings to contribute to a world class field.


6th September 2023

A trophy fit for golf royalty

On the first tee at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge will be two icons of this tournament – Gary Player and the famous crystal trophy awarded to the winner of ‘Africa’s Major’. Both were there when this tournament first teed off in 1981. Player has shaken the hands of the greatest in golf to play in this event, and the trophy bears their names.

“When I think about the beautiful crystal trophy, I think of what Lee Trevino once said about the Gary Player Country Club course. He told me we got the design of the golf course right the first time. I feel the same about the trophy. The design was perfect from the start, and it is a wonderful representation and record of the great history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge,” said Player.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge’s crystal trophy can trace its roots back to an Irish city founded by Vikings and to a company with a history of over 200 years in the art of glassmaking for royalty and some of the world’s greatest sport events.

It was in 1981 that Sam Feldman, the charismatic sports promoter who was part of the early team behind the launch of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, placed a phonecall to Waterford Crystal in the city of Waterford in Ireland for the purpose of designing a trophy for a new golf tournament at Sun City.

But not just any trophy.

As Feldman explained over the phone, “We are hosting the richest tournament in world golf. We need a trophy just as special”.

That was how the crystal trophy of ‘Africa’s Major’ came into existence.

Feldman’s idea for the design was that it should be a golf ball and that the stem of the trophy should represent a tee in the ground upon which the ball rests.

“Every time a player lifts it up I feel for him, because I know how heavy that trophy is,” said Feldman.

The winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge also receives a smaller replica of the trophy to keep.

The original design of the trophy was so accurate and timeless that it has hardly changed at all over the years.

The only change to the original trophy is to its base. There was an inconsistency as a result of the different inscribers of the champions’ names over the years, and it was decided to replace the base and have one inscriber redo all of the names.

The 2023 Nedbank Golf Challenge will once again be included on the DP World Tour schedule in partnership with Nedbank and Sun International and will be the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

This year’s field already includes defending champion Tommy Fleetwood, Major champions Justin Thomas and Justin Rose, and Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner and DP World Tour champion Ockie Strydom.


1st September 2023

Dream win for Pepler at Gary & Vivienne Player Challenge

WHITE RIVER (1 September 2023) – Gerhard Pepler made his talent and mental strength public on Friday as he came from four strokes behind to claim a thrilling victory in the Gary & Vivienne Player Challenge at the White River Country Club and earn his maiden win on the Sunshine Tour.

The 23-year-old rookie fired his third consecutive round of 66 to finish on 15-under-par for the R2 million event, two shots clear of James Hart du Preez and Hennie Otto.

“It’s a dream come true to win in my rookie season, but it feels unreal as well, like I’m going to wake up. Of course now I can look forward to playing at the Gary & Vivienne Player Invitational at The Lost City as well. For any South African golfer growing up, it’s always about Mr Player and it’s amazing what he has done for our golf, he’s the reason this all happens,” Pepler said.

The tournament’s most consistent golfer won out in the end, but he had to weather a rollercoaster back nine.

Pepler sealed victory in spectacular fashion with an eagle-three on the 16th hole and then a chip-in for birdie on the par-three 17th. That took him to 16-under and he could even afford a bogey on the par-four closing hole.

Having won three times on the Altron Big Easy Tour since July last year, Pepler brought the same composure to Friday’s final round. He started well with a birdie on the par-five first hole, and an eagle on the par-five seventh hole saw him turn in 32. His back nine included three birdies and three bogeys, but also the crucial eagle on the 16th.

“This course sets up nicely for me and I’m long enough to hit it past the trees. So going for the flag on 16 was always on the cards once I hit the fairway. I had 134 to the flag and hit a sand-wedge in, aiming a bit short of the hole, and then I sunk the 10-foot putt,” Pepler explained.

“That eagle helped a lot and then the chip-in on 17 nailed the win. I’d be lying if I said the nerves were not there. I had a bit of bad luck on the back nine with the swirling wind not pushing the ball back on 11 and ending in the hazard, and then a plugged lie in the bunker on 14. And then the nerves made it feel much more difficult.

“I’ve knocked on the door a couple of times already this season, but just one hole would take me out of it. But I’ve been working very hard with my mental coach on not staying in the past, not thinking about your mistakes the whole time but just the next hole. So I did not lose my cool. I was able to stay in it after making a small mistake today.

Kyle de Beer, who had led after the first two rounds, started the final round solidly with two birdies in his first seven holes to move to 16-under. But he bogeyed the next two holes and then also dropped shots on 11, 12 and 14, to post a 73 for 12-under-par.

Dylan Naidoo began the final round two behind De Beer and was one-under at the turn. But he also bogeyed the 11th and 12th holes, and dropped a shot as well on the final hole, to finish with a 71. He and De Beer shared fourth place.


31st August 2023

De Beer chasing maiden win on Sunshine Tour

WHITE RIVER (31 August 2023) – Kyle de Beer produced another fabulous bogey-free round on the second day of the Gary & Vivienne Player Challenge at White River Country Club on Thursday, and said he was only going to focus on taking on the golf course shot-for-shot as he goes into Friday’s final round with a two-shot lead.

Playing in only his third Sunshine Tour event but his first as a professional, De Beer fired a six-under-par 65 in Thursday’s second round to climb to 14-under-par for the tournament, stretching his lead after his terrific 63 on the first day.

The most impressive feature of his round was that he birdied three of the par-threes, showing that his iron play was once again impressive.

“I definitely followed up yesterday’s solid round which was really nice. I was a bit more scratchy off the tee today, so I had to work harder with my approach play, but my irons got me out of trouble and I hit some really good shots,” De Beer said on Thursday.

“It feels really good to be bogey-free through 36 holes. I’m very chuffed with that and hopefully I can keep the same going in the final round. I nearly messed it up though on the 18th, but I saved my par with a very nice putt.

“I’ve been in these positions before as an amateur, but I know there will be more pressure and nerves on Friday. I know when I’ve focused on the win and playing against others then I’ve usually come unstuck. I’m going to only focus on playing shot-for-shot and taking on the golf course.

“I know what I need to focus on. I’m going to stick to my guns and back myself. It’s going to be a long day, but I’m ready for it,” the former SA Amateur champion said.

The 25-year-old De Beer’s dreams of a first professional title will face a serious challenge, however, from Dylan Naidoo, another emerging talent who has already won on tour having triumphed in the SunBet Challenge Sibaya event last October.

Naidoo backed up his 66 in the first round with a 64 on Thursday, taking him to 12-under-par overall. Naidoo’s remarkable round included eagles on the par-five seventh and 16th holes, and he also went bogey-free.

In-form 23-year-old Gerhard Pepler posted a 66 on Thursday to move to 10-under-par, and his card was also without blemish.

Hennie Otto (69) and Luke Brown (65) share fourth place on nine-under.


Gary Player and top pros reflect on the dream of ‘Africa’s Major’

As Gary Player reflects on what the Nedbank Golf Challenge has meant to him since he helped launch ‘Africa’s Major’ over four decades ago, it’s perhaps best also expressed in the words of the world’s leading golfers about what this DP World Tour event means to them.

Since the first tournament in 1981 in which Player himself played and helped to bring together the field, the Nedbank Golf Challenge has captivated the imagination of the world’s leading golfers, from a young Seve Ballesteros duelling with Johnny Miller for the inaugural title, to current champion Tommy Fleetwood growing up watching the tournament on TV with his father and dreaming of his own success there.

This year will be no different as the US$6,000,000 tournament returns to the Gary Player Country Club from November 9-12, with an exclusive 64-man field vying for honours as well as an increased number of 2023 Race to Dubai Ranking Points and a place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” reflects Player. “You start with nothing – not even a golf course. We had to first build the golf course. Then you have an idea. A dream for a tournament. So now, all these years later, to see this dream become the dream of so many others as well is the true legacy of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.”

“Today a professional golfer wins this great tournament, and at the same time a young golfer watching it formulates a dream for himself to one day do the same. That is the power of this dream that started all those years ago.”

It’s a dream defending champion Tommy Fleetwood certainly shares.

“This is a very special event for me,” said Fleetwood. “I’m not South African but I grew up watching this event with my dad every year. I love the history behind it and the winners. When you walk down the ninth hole on the left and you see all the winners from all the years on that walkway, I often thought it would be great to add my name on there.”

Major champion and Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose, who returns to the tournament this year, feels a definite kinship with the event having been born in Johannesburg.

“South Africa is very close to my heart, and to play in front of a South African crowd who love their sport is always good fun.”

Former world number one and triple Major champion Nick Price, winner of three Nedbank Golf Challenge titles and who held the tournament record of 24 under par before it was surpassed by Ernie Els, said the tournament exceeded his own expectations when he was dominating it.

“This tournament has to be one of the best in the world from the players’ point of view. We were treated royally, like kings. It was a different kind of experience for me. I felt conscious of everything that went on, even when I was eating dinner.”

For Ernie Els, an icon of this event, it has always been a special week for him.

“The hospitality towards the players is always at the highest level at Sun City. They look after the players, family, friends and entourage very well indeed. That’s why so many players have wanted to play there over the years. The hospitality is simply wonderful. It’s called ‘Africa’s Major’ and it certainly feels like one.”

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has equally fond memories of this tournament.

“It’s an event I’ve always loved coming to. We’ve seen some great champions there and I’ve always loved coming to Africa. It’s just a great place with great people and a very challenging golf course. It’s a long way to come but it’s always worth the trip.”

South Africa’s George Coetzee was a young golfer when he attended his first Nedbank Golf Challenge, and he picked one of the most memorable as he watched the famous playoff between Nick Price and Tiger Woods in 1998.

“I got Nick Price’s ball with his name on it. I also grew up a big Ernie Els fan. I remember really disliking Bernhard Langer because he kept on beating Ernie in this event. For us growing up in South Africa and watching this event, you aspired to work hard and become a professional golfer and to hopefully one day play in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.”

Retief Goosen, one of the elder statesmen of South African golf and a Nedbank Golf Challenge winner in 2004, said the tournament feels exactly like a Major for him.

“This event has always been one of the best in the world. The effort that goes into it is amazing. Around the 18th green with all the grandstands there it feels like you’re playing in a Major Championship.”

Swede Alex Noren said he had to pinch himself when he finally secured a place in the Nedbank Golf Challenge and then won it in 2016.

“It’s unbelievable. I tried to get in this tournament for so many years, and when I got in here, to end up winning, it was unbelievable.”

Since 1981, the Nedbank Golf Challenge has inspired the dreams of some of golf’s greats, and it continues to do so in a new era of the game.

The 2023 Nedbank Golf Challenge will once again be included on the DP World Tour schedule in partnership with Nedbank and Sun International and will be the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.


30th August 2023

Dream Sunshine Tour debut for De Beer in White River

WHITE RIVER (30 August 2023) – Former SA Amateur champion Kyle de Beer is playing in his first Sunshine Tour tournament as a professional this week, but the 25-year-old showed that he is not feeling the pressure as he fired a superb eight-under-par 63 to claim the lead after the first round of the Gary & Vivienne Player Challenge at White River Country Club on Wednesday.

Beginning on the 10th hole, De Beer birdied his first four holes to send out a reverberating warning shot that he has arrived. After his 3-4-2-3 start, De Beer showed that par is also a satisfactory outcome on a course that has plenty of trees, water and elevation changes, going to the turn in 32, before picking up four more birdies on the front nine.

The former GolfRSA star, playing on an invitation, is one stroke ahead of the seasoned trio of Jean Hugo, Keenan Davidse and Hennie Otto.

“It was a dream start making four birdies in a row and then I just played very solid with some really nice par-saves and then I picked off a couple of birdies on the front nine,” De Beer said matter-of-factly after his stunning debut. “But I’m very chuffed and I’m very excited just to be playing, to be honest. To shoot 63 is the cherry on top.”

“My approach play was really good, my irons and wedges were really strong, and I hit a lot of approaches inside 10 feet and a few inside six feet. From that distance you back yourself to make birdies, so that was the part of my game that really shone,” De Beer added.

The Gqeberha resident has had a mediocre time on the Altron Big Easy Tour this year with only one top-20 finish in four events, but a step up in quality brought a dramatic improvement in De Beer’s fortunes on Wednesday.

“I haven’t set the world alight this year so far and I’ve been quite disappointed with my results to be honest. My standard of golf has not been very high, but I’m on the Altron Big Easy Tour to develop as a pro, to learn. I’ve put in a lot of work recently and I felt some good golf was just around the corner.

“But it’s still very much a process of getting my confidence back and trusting myself a bit more on the golf course. I’ve wanted to free myself up a bit more and let my game speak for itself and I’m glad to have done it today.

“I’m very proud with how I’ve played and hopefully I can bring my best again on the next two days. But as everyone in golf knows, it’s a whole another day tomorrow, it will be a different story.

“This course is not the longest, but it is challenging and the par-threes are very strong, not crazy-long but there is a lot of trouble lurking. You have to be very straight off the tee here, if you’re not then you’ll end up behind trees or have some very bad lies,” De Beer said.

Hugo would have fancied himself for an even lower round than his 64, having gathered just a single birdie from the four par-fives, while Davidse had a pair of 32s on each nine. Otto started on the 10th and had a blistering front nine, coming home in five-under.

Hennie O’Kennedy had a top-class round on the go as he reached six-under-par through 11 holes, but he then dropped four shots in his last five holes.