It’s another week of significant opportunity for the rising stars of the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour as the inaugural Jonsson Workwear Open tees off at both the Durban Country Club and Mount Edgecombe Country Club golf courses on Thursday.
The $250 000 tournament is the third on the seven-tournament schedule of co-sanctioned events between the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour and features a strong international field headlined by the return of multiple DP World Tour champion Brandon Stone.
It was precisely this co-sanctioning strategy that enabled Stone to achieve a first in his career when he won last year’s Limpopo Championship to record his maiden victory on the Challenge Tour.
“I’ve won on the Sunshine Tour and the DP World Tour, and I always wanted to add a victory on the Challenge Tour as well, which I was able to do,” said Stone.
JC Ritchie also knows the value of this week’s event for the field, and he heads to Durban as the latest winner after defending his title in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open last week.
“It’s brilliant for us to have these events, especially for the South Africans. To get the season off to a good start early in the year and here at home could mean that the rest of the year is a bit more comfortable,” he said.
“We have a lot of brilliant players in South Africa who often don’t have the financial support to get onto the Challenge Tour or main DP World Tour, or even to the qualifying schools. So to have these events, and in general to have that collaboration between the Sunshine Tour, Challenge Tour and DP World Tour, is so special for us as players.”
Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin, who made a strong push for his maiden Challenge Tour victory in Cape Town last week, also represents that sense of this being a true breeding ground of future champions of the game. The 19-year-old plays out of the same Holywood Golf Club that produced Rory McIlroy, and is held in high esteem by McIlroy.
The first two rounds of the Jonsson Workwear Open will be shared by both the Durban Country Club and Mount Edgecombe Country Club courses, with the final two rounds to be played solely on the historic Durban Country Club course.
All of which adds to the significance of just how special this week could be for a young professional to be able to win on a golf course as iconic as Durban Country Club, and which this year also celebrates its Centenary.
A daily maximum of 2 000 fully vaccinated spectators will be allowed to attend, and the final two rounds of the tournament will be shown live on SuperSport.