Brandon Stone heads into this weekâ€™s Limpopo Championship with a very clear goal of using these next three European Challenge Tour events being hosted on the Sunshine Tour as preparation for next monthâ€™s PGA Championship.
Stone forms part of a strong South African field gathered at Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate for the R3 million Limpopo Championship, which tees off on Thursday as the first of a three-week stretch of European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned events also including the Bainâ€™s Whisky Cape Town Open and the Dimension Data Pro-Am.
Wilco Nienaber is back in South Africa for this event, as well as new European Tour member Daniel van Tonder, top GolfRSA amateur Casey Jarvis, defending champion JC Ritchie, rising star Jayden Schaper and recent South African Senior Open champion James Kingston. They will all be joining the international contingent from the European Challenge Tour.
And itâ€™s to the local Sunshine Tour professionals that Stone says heâ€™ll be looking to help get his game in top shape before he tees it up in the yearâ€™s second Major, the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in May.
â€œThe golfers on the Sunshine Tour are incredibly good, and in my opinion we have some of the best golfers in the world playing here. So these next three weeks playing against our best will stand me in good stead before the PGA Championship in just over a month. Itâ€™s definitely something to get me ready for that,â€ said Stone.
The multiple European Tour winner is looking forward to competitive golf again following a frustrating period in which the travel issues surrounding Covid-19 have kept him at home.
â€œIâ€™m just really looking forward to playing again. I havenâ€™t played in a while because of a few visa issues and the travel restrictions around the world at the moment. I have played a lot of social golf and the game feels fantastic. Iâ€™m very eager to get some competitive golf going again.
â€œI think a lot of players this week will also be hungry to compete. These next three weeks are a definite opportunity for the Sunshine Tour professionals. We have three fantastic tournaments in a row at home and on golf courses the Sunshine Tour professionals are familiar with, and thatâ€™s a massive opportunity to earn a European Challenge Tour card. Iâ€™ve also never won on the European Challenge Tour, and thatâ€™s something Iâ€™ve always wanted to do.â€ – Michael Vlismas
Photo: Carl Fourie