JOHANNESBURG (Gauteng) – The evolution of Brandon Stone’s professional career continues in this week’s Jonsson Workwear Open at The Club at Steyn City as he goes in search of a fourth DP World Tour title while feeling more confident than ever in a lifestyle decision he made two years ago.
The 29-year-old South African is one of the most social professionals in world golf, but two years ago he did something radical for his generation and went off social media entirely.
“It’s been gone for two years, and I can feel that sense of relief,” said Stone, who has been on a search to get back to the basics of his craft and regain the form that saw him win three DP World Tour titles in three years and then a European Challenge Tour title in 2021.
Stone was only in his 27th start on the DP World Tour when he broke through and won his national Open in 2016. A year later he claimed the third largest margin of victory in the history of the Alfred Dunhill Championship with his six-stroke win at Leopard Creek, and then in 2018 he closed with a stunning 60 to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
He’s since been working hard to get back into the winner’s circle, and two top-10s in his last five tournaments have been an encouraging sign.
“I feel like I’m playing well. The European Challenge Tour events we had recently in South Africa were fantastic for me from a momentum point of view. The game feels good.”
In explaining his decision to shift his focus off social media to more personal interaction with people, Stone said, “I’ve always enjoyed face-to-face interaction with people. I enjoy actually speaking to my family and friends. I’ve always felt like I’m part of an older generation just stuck in a younger frame. I was that 10-15-year-old kid in the clubhouse playing golf with the 40-year-olds. I’ve loved every second of it and haven’t missed it at all. Now I either text or phone my friends as opposed to presuming that I know what they’re doing in their lives. That’s a human interaction that I felt was lacking for a long time, and which I’ve now got back in my arsenal again.”
Stone lines up in a strong Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned field for this week’s Jonsson Workwear Open.
The field includes every single one of the top 10 on the Sunshine Tour’s Luno Order of Merit, and three of the top seven players on the DP World Tour Race to Dubai Rankings.
Shaun Norris is back at the golf course where he won his first DP World Tour event in The Steyn City Championship last year, while JC Ritchie returns to an event he won in 2022 when it was still a European Challenge Tour tournament before being upgraded to the DP World Tour this year. – Michael Vlismas