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18th May 2023

Wicks finds new inspiration on Sunshine Tour

LUSAKA, Zambia – David Wicks is an Englishman playing in just his second Sunshine Tour event, having decided six months ago to give up professional golf, but on Thursday he found himself on top of the leaderboard at the Zanaco Masters at Lusaka Golf Club in Zambia, following his outstanding opening round of seven-under-par 65.

Wicks’s bogey-free round was matched late in the day by Neil Schietekat, the winner of the FBC Zimbabwe Open, the previous Sunshine Tour event a fortnight ago. The pair hold a one shot lead over Robson Chinhoi, while Ryan van Velzen, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Jake Redman and Luke Trochado all shot five-under 67s.

Wicks had been competing on the EuroPro Tour, but was going to call time on his career as a touring pro when his management agency suggested he try out the Sunshine Tour. He went to Q-School last month and finished sixth. The St John’s County resident then enjoyed a very solid debut event on tour as he finished tied-15th in the FBC Zimbabwe Open in Harare.

The 29-year-old Wicks started on the 10th hole at Lusaka Golf Club on Thursday and collected four birdies on his front nine and then another three coming home. Wicks said ensuring he stayed in the fairways was a key focus.

“I was going to quit golf six months ago, but then I heard really good things about the Sunshine Tour from my management agency, they told me about the opportunities out here, the lifestyle and how well run the tour is. It’s been a great experience so far with how well the tour delivers to the
players and the fans, and the media production.

“The tour goes above and beyond and I’m really happy to be playing on it. I get to travel around Africa with my girlfriend, Megan Barone, on the bag.

“I was able to build some confidence at Q-School and in Zimbabwe, and my game is definitely trending in a good direction. I’m just staying in the process and ensuring I don’t make silly errors.

“Lusaka Golf Club is a tough test, you have to come in from the fairways due to the firmness of the greens. You’ll have lots of problems here if you miss the fairway, so that was my goal, putting a high price on hitting them and using lofted wedges into the green. You have to try and get the ball to
spin, you’re hoping you don’t get big bounces,” Wicks said.

Schietekat, still delighting in the relief of winning his first Sunshine Tour title since 2018 in Zimbabwe, was one-under through six holes, but then his game really began to purr like a well-oiled machine. He picked up four birdies in the next five holes around the turn, and also posted fours on the par-five 13th and 18th holes.

Van Velzen was also going extremely well on seven-under at one stage, but then double-bogeyed his penultimate hole, the par-four eighth, to drop back to five-under.