The Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at the Simola is the last tournament before the Sunshine Tour’s lucrative summer schedule tees off, and a number of South African golf’s rising stars will be looking forward to the summer with plenty of expectations.
Garrick Higgo, Thriston Lawrence, Ruan Conradie, James Hart du Preez, Deon Germishuys and Toto Thimba have all done enough this winter to suggest a summer of opportunity lies ahead for them.
Higgo took only three months from securing his Sunshine Tour card to winning his first tournament in June’s Sun City Challenge.
‘Winning that first Sunshine Tour title means so much,’ said Higgo.
‘To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to have this kind of success so soon. I’m just out here trying to get better every week. But I’ve secured my Sunshine Tour card now, so I’ve had to relook some goals and see what benefits come out of finishing high on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. I’ve kind of figured it out and it’s motivated me a lot, even for me to try and win the Order of Merit this year.
Lawrence broke through with his maiden Sunshine Tour victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Stellenbosch Golf Club, and following two runners-up finishes before this.
‘I’m in a good place and am very comfortable. In golf you can’t predict when you’re going to perform well. I’m a big fan of playing a lot of golf. At the moment I’m not even looking at the range and just trying to play as much as I can and keep my form up. I’m in a good place for the upcoming summer events and you never know, maybe I peak at the right time and get a career changer,’ he said.
Thimba’s victory in the KCB Karen Masters in Kenya was a major confidence boost for not only himself but also the Gary Player Class professionals he represents on the Sunshine Tour, which is a squad of players the Tour has identified for support with their careers.
‘Basically, I became tired of watching other people win,’ he said of what drove him to a maiden title on the Tour. ‘I feel good about my game and my health and my mental strength.’
Conradie also chose this season to make his breakthrough and had a further three top fives on Tour, while Germishuys came close to a maiden title when he finished second in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Stellenbosch Golf Club.
And Du Preez has made incredible progress since returning from a 15-month layoff due to injury. The tall golfer has finished third and second in his last two tournaments.
‘I haven’t played in so long that everything I’m doing is a new experience. I haven’t been in contention like I am, so that’s new. The only thing I can do is just stick to what I’m doing, be diligent with my mental game and my attitude and whatever happens happens. I’m having fun,’ he said.
After a winter of content, it could be a life-changing summer of success for any one of these professionals.
Photo: Sunshine Tour
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