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8th March 2024

‘Iron and Grit’ earns Davidse share of Jonsson Workwear Open lead

The tagline for the 2024 Jonsson Workwear Open is “Iron and Grit”. South Africa’s Keenan Davidse has had to show exactly this as he’s worked through an extremely difficult time in his personal life, but ended Thursday’s first round of this tournament a content man both inside and outside the ropes.

Davidse signed for an eight-under-par 64 at Glendower Golf Club to share the lead with Spain’s Ivan Cantero. They are one stroke clear of a strong South African challenge including Thriston Lawrence, Oliver Bekker and Louis de Jager, with the in-form Robin Williams just two shots back.

Davidse was delighted with his start in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament, and spoke with a sense of relief at feeling a balance in his life and game again.

“I’m on a good foot again. We’ve had some personal challenges as a family and it’s been tough, but we’ve overcome it. That’s my motivation at the moment – my wife and my kids. We all know it’s a tough life out on tour. Golf can bring you down. But with my family and my golf I’m in a good space, and I think that’s what’s motivating me,” said Davidse.

The South African is no stranger to leading a DP World Tour co-sanctioned event, having also done so in the 2017 Joburg Open. But it’s a lesson he learnt last week, where he finished tied 16th in the SDC Championship, that he’s tried to bring into his game here.

“I made 27 birdies last week to finish 16th. I made nine birdies today and one bogey, so I told myself if you limit the bogeys you can score because I make enough birdies,” he said.

Behind him lies the experience of multiple DP World Tour winner Lawrence, who was equally pleased with one of his best opening rounds of late.

“I just had a great day. I had fun and stayed patient and it worked out pretty nicely. I don’t think I’ve shot seven under in a first round in a while. To be up there on day one really helps me. I know I’m good over a weekend, but it’s important if you want to win to go low on day one.”

And on six under par, Williams finds himself in contention for a maiden DP World Tour title for the second week in succession after losing a playoff for last week’s SDC Championship.

“I had time to reflect on last week. This week is a new week on a course I enjoy so I’m looking forward to it. I feel this golf course suits me. Getting so close last week shows that what I’m working on is right and hopefully it’s just a matter of time.” – Michael Vlismas.

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7th March 2024

Moller makes his mark for Birdies for Rhinos

Birdies for Rhinos, the vision of Sunshine Tour professional Justin Walters in aid of rhino conservation, celebrated its latest champion ahead of this week’s Jonsson Workwear Open at Glendower Golf Club.

Denmark’s Niklas Norgaard Moller added his name to the spectacular rhino trophy after making 417 birdies last year. The money raised by the professionals is donated to Connected Conservation in aid of rhino conversation.

“It feels really good to make a difference,” said Moller.

“I’m from Denmark so I’m far away from where this is all happening, but animals have always been close to my heart and this was an initiative where  I could not just talk about making a difference but actually do something. I feel very proud to be part of it.”

Walters was delighted to hand over the trophy to Moller.

“Niklas is a wonderful player and the rhinos are very happy he’s on board with us. He also the prize to Sabi Sands Game Reserve,” Walters said of an initiative he remains extremely proud of.

“It’s about raising money and awareness for the plight of rhinos. It’s a small part that the professionals on the various tours make. They donate money for every birdie they make in the year and we pool the money and hand it over to Connected Conservation, who have made wonderful strides in protecting wildlife around the world. It started as something small and its gathering momentum now. Tommy Fleetwood came on board last year and he’s brought a lot of clout with him.”

Bruce “Doc” Watson, the Executive Chairman of the Connected Conservation Foundation, also praised the work of the professionals in supporting their cause.

“It’s making a big impact. We now cover 29 reserves primarily in Africa and the East, and this makes a dramatic difference in the work we do.”

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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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19th March 2023

Baldwin takes the lead in SDC Championship

England’s Matthew Baldwin will take a four-stroke lead into the final round of the SDC Championship at St Francis Links on Sunday.

Baldwin had to finish off his third round on Sunday morning and did so with a solid 65 which lifted him to 14 under par overall.

His nearest challenger is Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen on 10 under par after he posted a third round of 73.

Reigning Investec South African Open champion Thriston Lawrence is the leading South African on eight under par following a third round of 68.

It’s been a tough three days mentally for the field as they’ve had to adjust to the change in wind and incomplete rounds, and Baldwin said he was pleased with how he’s managed to handle it so far.

“I’m absolutely delighted. I’ve played nice and steady and holed putts at the right time. It was a long third round. I’ll just try and keep doing the same over the final 18 holes – play my best golf and see what happens. The quick turnaround is probably better because you’re still fresh and warm. There is a bit of a breeze so hopefully it will pick up and be a bit of a challenge this afternoon.”

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12th October 2022

SA stars back and chasing glory in Investec South African Open Championship

South African golf’s biggest stars will be back on local fairways this December as they unite in their quest for Investec South African Open glory and the chance to claim what they’ve called “our fifth Major”.

Charl Schwartzel, Dean Burmester, Dylan Frittelli, MJ Daffue, Brandon Stone, Erik van Rooyen, Thriston Lawrence, Oliver Bekker, Shaun Norris and defending champion Daniel van Tonder have all confirmed their participation in the second oldest national Open in golf at the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate from 1-4 December.

“I can’t wait to get there and compete in such an iconic event and try I put my name on that trophy alongside the greats like Ernie Els and Gary Player and so many others. For us as South Africans it’s our fifth Major and we all want to win it so badly. For me personally, I’ve won the South African PGA Championship, so to get my name on the Investec South African Open trophy as well and have done the double would be very special,” said PGA Tour campaigner Dean Burmester.

Fellow PGA Tour star Dylan Frittelli said he’s returning to challenge for a title he feels is essential to his career.

“The Investec South African Open is the biggest tournament in the world for me right now besides a Major. It means so much to me. It was the first professional tournament I ever played. I qualified when I was 16 years old. I definitely want to win my national Open before my playing career is over. I think my career will be incomplete if I don’t do that.”

DP World Tour campaigner Oliver Bekker said he is back to try and go one better than his runner-up finish to Daniel van Tonder in last year’s Investec South African Open.

“It’s our home Open and I would really like to have my name on that trophy with the likes of Ernie Els and Gary Player and all of the South African golf legends. After coming so close last year I’m really looking forward to playing well on home soil and hopefully to have a chance of lifting that trophy.”

Shaun Norris said he’s particularly excited about competing on home fairways again.

“It’s always great to play back home, and so much more in your national Open. It’s every golfer’s dream to win his national Open. It will mean the world to me to add my name to that trophy with all of the great players who’ve done it before.”

Thriston Lawrence is also returning home to compete in a championship he’s been watching since he was a young golfer.

“I can’t wait for this year’s Investec South African Open. What an historic event. It’s a tournament I’ll always support because I grew up watching it on TV and have always wanted to win it, especially with all the names on that trophy and the history behind it. I’d obviously love to win it and will give it my all.”

The Sunshine Tour this week launched its ticketing package for this prestigious Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament aimed at maximising value and the overall experience.

Ticket prices range from R150 for the Thursday or Friday to R300 for the Saturday or Sunday, with a 50% discount if purchased before the end of October. Tickets can be purchased at

The world-class action inside the ropes will be matched by a festival of golf for the whole family at this year’s tournament.

The festivities will include a big screen in the tournament village for sports fans to be able to keep up with the latest FIFA World Cup action. There will also be a Golf Expo Centre featuring the very latest in golf equipment. Fans will be able to have their photo taken with the iconic Investec South African Open trophy, and the youngest golf fans will have their own dedicated kid’s area to keep them entertained. The tournament village will include a food and drinks market as well as a Stella Artois beer garden. And a Saturday afternoon music concert will provide the perfect way to relax after the third-round action and prepare for an epic final round.

It will also be more than just the professionals who will have the chance to win big at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate.

From the Thursday to the Saturday of the world’s second oldest national Open, three lucky fans will be selected to prove they have the nerves of steel of the professionals and will win the chance to putt for R10 000 on the 18th green after play. On the Sunday of the final round, three fans will have the chance to also putt for glory, but for R100 000.

It’s the biggest week in South African golf, and it’s live on the Sunshine Tour.

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Stone relaxed in share of Mauritius lead

5th December 2019

Stone relaxed in share of Mauritius lead

Brandon Stone put a tough year behind him as he fired a six-under-par 66 on Thursday to be in a five-way share of the first-round lead of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Golf Club.

His seven birdies and a bogey saw him share the lead with teenager Rasmus Hojgaard from Denmark, the French duo of Benjamin Hebert and Romain Langasque, and Scotland’s Grant Forrest in a tournament sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

“2019 was a tough year,” said Stone. “I don’t think I was the only one that really struggled. I think on the European Tour, you’ve got 110 guys that keep their cards and I think 109 of them are always going to be disappointed. I had a few results towards the end of the year that really got some confidence back in the game.”

Stone turned in four-under-par 32 on his way to what looked as if it might be a very low score, but a bogey on the 10th slowed his progress until the 14th and 15th where he made two successive birdies. Then, after being in trouble off the tee on the par-five 18th – he nearly hit his wife who was standing well out of danger on the left of the fairway – he recovered well for a final birdie to grab his share of the lead.

Hojgaard was flawless through his opening round and took advantage of an early start which saw the wind less of an influence than later in the day. “Conditions are very good,” he said. “It’s a course where if you are playing well you can see a lot of chances. I managed to take them today.”

The morning field certainly got the better of conditions, and Hebert was one of those who took advantage. “The greens were very firm during the practice round and they were much softer this morning, so it was easier,” he said. “During the practice round it was very hard to reach pin high because the bounce was huge on the green. It was a little bit windy on the last nine, a little bit tougher, but I did well so I am very happy.”

For Stone, finishing his competitive year in Mauritius is something he’s relishing. “I think we’ve had the best end of the year with these two events (Alfred Dunhill Championship and AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open),” he said. “I sat for a couple of hours poolside yesterday, weighing up the options of what we are going to do for dinner. There were more than enough ideas, and then I went to bed nice and early. Woke up to a beautiful island summer’s morning, took a walk on the beach with the wife and after that, I had to come and do a little bit of work and come and shoot a 66.”

He’s got work to do if he wants to break free of his pursuers, though. In addition to the four with whom he shares the lead, there are none players just one shot back, including South Africans Keith Horne, Zander Lombard, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Jaco Ahlers.