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Karmis cards 63 in calm Cape Town conditionsPeter Karmis took the opportunity offered by a calm day on King David Mowbray Golf Club on Thursday to post a brilliant nine-under-par 63 to lead the first round of the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International. He made nine birdies without dropping a shot on his way to a one-stroke edge over Zimbabwe Open champion JC Ritchie and Wales’ Rhys Enoch. They were, in turn, a further stroke ahead of a huge group of a dozen players on seven-under-par 65 as players took advantage of the benign conditions. “Today, there was no wind really,” said Karmis. “Mowbray is a bit tame when there is no wind.” While it might have been tame, Karmis still had to produce the goods to make those nine birdies, and with two titles on the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour already under his belt, he’s clearly in good shape. “I’m very pleased. I putted very well today, and I drove it fairly well as well,” he said. “I hit a lot of fairways so I gave myself opportunities to attack the flags, and then I putted so well. I haven’t putted so well in a very long time.” That he was able to putt so well was tribute to the greens-keeping staff at King David Mowbray who got the course into tournament shape despite the challenges posed by the severe drought and tough water restrictions in Cape Town. “The greens are pure,” said Karmis. “I grew up in Cape Town, so I know the course very well, and I don’t think I’ve seen the greens this good in my entire life.” Like Karmis, Ritchie was also pleased with his putting. “I’m hitting the golf ball really well and putts were falling everywhere I was looking,” he said. “There was a lonely little three-putt bogey on my first hole and that was about it for the day. “My work off the tee and my wedge play has sparked my consistency recently. I’ve been hitting a lot of wedges to within very makeable distances and the putter’s been there to back it up.” With so many players under par for the opening round, it was certainly clear that the course played easy. But Karmis pointed out that King David Mowbray could bare its teeth in the right conditions. “When the southeaster blows, even mildly, it is actually quite a challenge,” he said. “There are a lot of cross-wind holes, a lot of small greens, a lot of narrow fairways, so it actually gets quite difficult.” With the wind forecast to pick up a little during Friday’s second round, scores might not be quite as impressive.  
Kamte pleased with positive start at Cape Town OpenJames Kamte said he is slowly gaining confidence after he shot a perfect seven-under 65 opening round of the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International at King David Mowbray Golf Club on Thursday. “You know what, it is about time,” Kamte said, elaborating on his solid round in the drought-affected Mother City. “I started to make a lot of putts today. I managed to end it with like 20 putts today, which I am pretty happy about, you know. As long as I keep putting well, I think I will probably be able to finish well.” He opened his round with a birdie on one, then made three consecutive pars before making a run of four straight birdies on holes five, six, seven and eight.  He then made par to go out in 31. His homeward stretch was a little more measured as he managed to birdie only the 12th and 14th holes, while he made no bogeys to spoil his round. “I just putted well,” said Kamte who is a member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18. “I managed to get the ball on the green in regulation and I made a lot of putts, you know, which was a good thing, not long putts, pretty short putts, you know, and I was quite happy to save shots.” With the water crisis still ravaging Cape Town, Kamte was content with the condition of the golf course and he was quick to note that things could change pretty quickly here if the wind starts to pick up. “Today the course is playing pretty fair,” he said. “You know, normally I play this course with a lot of wind and there is no wind. It does not happen often around here and I was just hoping for the wind to pick up in the afternoon. It is a bit of shock about the wind, we can see by the scores and you are going to have to take advantage of it.” On seven-under and sharing fourth with at least nine other players, Kamte is the highest-placed member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18 after day one. The Gary Player Class is the Sunshine Tour’s development programme which benefits from the longstanding support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), founded in 1999 by Johann Rupert as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in a collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.  
Excitement for SADGA at Cape Town OpenExcitement was written all over the faces of 20 children from the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA), who were involved in a golf coaching clinic conducted by professional golfers ahead of the official start of the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International, at King David Mowbray Golf Club. While learning the game from the professionals was a dominant factor on Wednesday, national coach at SADGA, Andrew Corthing, said the clinic was more than just hitting balls and making putts. “It is quite important to give these children an opportunity and exposure to what is happening in the world of golf,” Corthing said. “At the end of the day, obviously, we all know that they are not all going to be able to play the disabled golf, but it is just to see the players they see on TV and just to teach them basic life skills and morals and dress code. “I have been doing this for the last 15 years and what’s vital is that golf is just a tool to be able to teach them life skills,” Corthing added. Some of the professionals involved included promising youngster, Kyle McClatchie, whose young career seems to be shooting for the stars. His highlight from the clinic was less about golf and more about the human touch. “For me it was about having fun with the kids,” said McClatchie. “It is nice for them to go outside and meet new people and make great friends. Golf teaches you a lot about life, etiquette and so on. There are some good guys here and I was chuffed to see the guys out here showing us their talents and hopefully we’ll see a few of them out on the course one day.” The sentiment echoed by Jacquin Hess, who seems never to miss a chance to interact with aspiring golfers, whether they’re from the SADGA or the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB). While he was not part of the initial five players who were scheduled to conduct the clinic, the member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18 jumped at the chance when he heard one of the players had become unavailable. “It’s always a pleasure for me to get involved,” said Hess. “The happiness the kids show and how they want to learn is amazing. Maybe they won’t all become golfers, some may be club administrators or anything they want because you can see they have the enthusiasm and discipline, and that’s what golf will teach you. So, I am happy to give back.” There will be a second clinic held during the week, but this one will be with the SAGDB and it will be held on Friday.  
Strydom looks to up his game in Cape TownHe came fifth in the 2015 tournament, but after his good showing last week, Jean-Paul Strydom is hoping to do well in this week’s Cape Town Open presented by Sun International which tees off on Thursday at King David Mowbray Golf Club. He came second to Jaco Ahlers in the Dimension Data Pro-Am in the best finish in his Sunshine Tour career, with his final round of six-under-par 66 taking him to 17-under for the week, three strokes short of the winning total. And being a Western Cape man, he feels confident ahead of the action this week. “My form in George was a massive confidence booster, especially coming into Mowbray for the Cape Town Open – it’s kind of my home open,” he said. “I had a couple of good finishes at Mowbray as an amateur. I hope I can get it going again.” Before last week’s tournament, Strydom was not feeling particularly good about his golf. “It was four good rounds at Dimension Data last week,” he said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball awfully well going into the week. I played with Shaun Norris and that helped me a bit and then things just clicked. “I’ve been working hard for the last month or so. It just hasn’t really happened for me. I suppose the hard work eventually paid off. I was very consistent. I putted nicely, and all round, my game was very good.” Strydom had a strong Western Province-based amateur career. That gives him some local knowledge. “Mowbray’s not a very long course,” he said. “It’s kind of built for the wind. It’s a very tricky course. You have to manage things well off the tees and you have to keep it in play. “I know they struggled with the greens in the past, but the course is looking amazing – the greens are really nice. I played yesterday and today. I also played it twice just before the Eye of Africa PGA Championship with Justin Harding and a couple of the boys – it’s looking good. You wouldn’t even say there’s a drought in Cape Town. The tournament has been moved to King David Mowbray from Royal Cape as a result of the water situation in Cape Town. At Mowbray, the course is treated with effluent water. The other important measures taken by the Sunshine Tour include getting players to use showers only very sparingly, trucking in 700 cases of bottled water from Gauteng and using disposable plates, cutlery and cups for all catering areas to remove the need to wash dishes. Strydom will be up against the in-form Ahlers, who won in Cape Town in 2014, as well as another former champion in Jake Roos, who won the inaugural event in 2012. Strydom is looking to continue his string finish to the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour season. “After this, I’m off to the Tshwane Open and the Tour Championships, and I hope I can finish the year off strongly,” he said. “My strategy for the week? Keep it in play off the tee.”  
Cape Town Open presented by Sun International becomes a ‘water-less’ event.The water crisis currently affecting Cape Town demands that we all take extra measures to ensure that Day Zero never comes, and the Sunshine Tour has committed itself, during this, the week of the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International, to use less water in an effort to assist the City of Cape Town and the citizens in their endeavours to save the scarce resource. The first measure was to move the tournament from its usual home, the Royal Cape Golf Club which has a dire shortage of water, to the King David Mowbray Golf Club where the golf course is treated with effluent water. The other important measure taken by the Tour in this regard is to encourage golfers to use showers only on the Tuesday of the pro-am, on Friday for those who miss the cut and who are travelling, and on Sunday after the tournament. Because of the testing nature of the sport, efforts to reduce the consumption of bottled water throughout the tournament week have been made, which include trucking in 700 cases of bottled water from Gauteng for player hydration and operational areas and thus effecting no further stress on local resources. This is because the Tour cannot get enough stock due to the chronic shortage in the Western Cape. Using disposable plates, cutlery and cups for all catering areas during the entire tournament week will remove the need to wash dishes, and because the toilets in the clubhouse are fed by greywater systems, this reduces the use of potable water during this event. Further, all tournament officials and players are being encouraged to wear blue on Friday the 23rd of February to help create awareness that ‘Day Zero’ could be a reality. In line with the City’s strategy to preserve this important resource, the Sunshine Tour will also be running a social media campaign through which it aims to engage the public, players and tournament staff. While the water crisis is very real in this part of the country, the Sunshine Tour and its partners are committed to ensuring that the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International goes ahead and with the use of such strategies and gaining public support in raising awareness around the issue, everybody in the city can be proud to have contributed to this initiative.
Bentley grabs first of 16 pre-qualifier spots in Cape TownGreg Bentley claimed the first of the 16 pre-qualifiers spots for this week’s Cape Town Open presented by Sun International when he shot a three-under-par 69 round at the King David Mowbray Golf Club on Monday. “Definitely, I am pleased with qualifying,” Bentley said, expressing his satisfaction after his qualifying round. “I had a bit of pressure this week because I started quite badly in the last two pre-qualifiers, so I needed to, sort of, get some confidence back, so it was nice to get into the tournament and obviously put a good score under the belt,” he added. The Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club player failed to qualify for the last two tournaments – the Dimension Data Pro-Am last week and the Eye of Africa PGA Championship two weeks ago. “It is not like I have been playing badly. The last two pre-qualifies I started with a double and triple, so, you just leave yourself with too much to do in a pre-qualifier. Today I just to start a little bit steady and the game is there so it is nice to gain a little bit of confidence to know that I can shot the score that I need,” Bentley said. While he seemed to navigate this parkland layout with relative ease, Bentley acknowledges the pressure that comes with a qualifying round. “There is, honestly, more pressure because you come all the way down to Cape Town and if you do not make it through this one round, then you do not get paid, or so you do not get a chance to get paid, so it is quite tough like that, but just try and understand the present and try not to think about scores. Just play golf and let score take care of itself and hopefully on the given day your score is good enough,” the Zimbabwe national said. Other players who qualified are Keagan Beyer, Johan Engelbrecht, Nyasha Muyambo, John Parkinson, TJ Biggs, James Wade, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu, Andrew Mackie, Brian Gondo, Ruan Huysamen, Mervyn Galant, Ben Fouchee and Brett Liddle. While he was happy with his effort in Cape Town on Monday, Bentley was also conscious of the water crisis currently affecting the city. “Obviously, I mean, the concept is great. Cape Town has been struggling with water. I have friends who live here and it is not easy, so for a professional golf tournament to come here and just show that they care and they going to try and use water as little as possible is a really good thing to do. And we will all be trying and use as little liquid as possible this week,” Bentley said.  
Auto Draft 75Jaco Ahlers put pedal to the metal after the turn on Sunday to accelerate away to a comfortable three-stroke victory in the Dimension Data Pro-Am which was played at Fancourt. The George local made an eagle and three birdies in succession after the ninth on his was to a flawless eight-under-par 64 for a 20-under-par total to defeat second-placed Jean-Paul Strydom who cared a fine six-under 66 of his own. Ireland’s Neil O’Briain also shot 66 to finish third a further stroke back. “Those five shots I picked up as I started the back nine were unbelievable,” said Ahlers. “I started with a great second shot with a rescue on 10 which I hit to three feet for the eagle. It was flushed perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for a better shot. “Then I made the putts on 11, 12 and 13 and from there it was almost cruise-mode. I could get away with hitting fairways, the middle of the green and two-putting all the way home. That made the difference.” He started the day two shots off the overnight lead, and made his move early with three birdies in his opening five holes to pull clear of two other George locals, Tjaart van der Walt and Vaughn Groenewald who were unable to build on their third-round successes. And once Ahlers had pulled clear with his stunning four holes after the turn, he was able to relax and savour the coming victory. “I’m naturally fairly conservative,” he said. “I was very comfortable playing percentage golf coming in, and that suited me perfectly.” Strydom’s finish gave him his best-ever Sunshine Tour result, and the biggest cheque of his career, and he will take comfort from the fact that not many people would have been able to stop Ahlers once he picked up those five strokes. He worked hard to stay in touch with Ahlers after turning in 33, and picked up three more birdies to cement his spot. O’Briain was flawless, and, after picking up four birdies in his first five holes, would have hoped for an even lower score. But he made eight consecutive pars before his next birdie, and then made just one more as he solidified his third place. Behind him, five players shared fourth on 14-under: Dean Burmester, Francesco Laporta of Italy, Keith Horne, Germany’s Alexander Knappe, and Van der Walt. For Ahlers, this was a big win. “I said before the tournament that if I was to only win one more tournament in my life, I’d like it to be this,” he said. And it was big for more than just that reason. The winner of the Dimension Data Pro-Am always gets into the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. The opportunity to play in that will certainly set his heart racing. “This is pretty big. I’m really chuffed,” he said.”  
Ndwandwe looking to end win drought in Cape TownIt has been nine years since Lindani Ndwandwe won a tournament on the Sunshine Tour and while he acknowledges that his game still needs some work here and there, the 43-year-old Durban Country Club professional is itching to get a third win under his belt. Despite missing the cut at this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am being played on all three courses at Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate, Ndwandwe says his game is heading in the right direction and it is all thanks to the Gary Player Class of 2017-18 of which he is a member. “It’s one of those things, hey. You get going at one stage and then you get cold again,” he said, explaining his nine-year absence from the winner’s circle. “So, patience is very important. That is one of the things we get in the Gary Player programme. It helps a lot, hey. Not only me, but a few other guys are playing well and will win soon.” The Gary Player Class is the Sunshine Tour’s development programme which benefits from the longstanding support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), founded in 1999 by Johann Rupert as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in a collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans. Ndwandwe, a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, says while his game has been improving, there’s still a lot of work to be done to get back to the level it was when he won the Western Cape Classic and the Highveld Classic in 2001 and 2009, respectively. Now, having set his sights on next week’s Cape Town Open presented by Sun International, Ndwandwe will fancy his chances even more, because of the prospect of playing in the coastal Cape. “I always look forward to events that are played on the coast, any coast,” he said. “Those courses test you. Are you patient enough? Are you hitting balls good enough to survive? So, the plan will be to think my way around the course and take what comes, but I will remain patient until my time comes.” While he will be disappointed with his showing at Fancourt, Ndwandwe will take positives from the share of 23rd he got at Eye of Africa PGA Championship a fortnight ago.  
Calderon feeling warm in South AfricaEye of Africa PGA Championship winner Matias Calderon is finding South Africa a sort of home away from home as the love and support he is getting since he joined the Sunshine Tour is similar to what he gets in Chile, his home country. “What I like about this tour is that it is a very competitive environment, but it is really healthy as well,” he said.  “Everyone is like pretty good friends and people get happy when you play well, you get happy when the other guys play well. You are not looking for other guys to play bad and I really enjoy that. It is sort of the same way that it works in Chile. I really want other players to shoot seven-under and I just want to shoot eight. So that’s the best part of this that I like the most.” The 27-year-old said the tournament he won last week with rounds of 69, 68, 69 and 65 for a total of 17-under-par at the Eye of Africa Signature Golf Estate is definitely his favourite on the Sunshine Tour. “I was happy to see the ball drop in and it was very exciting,” Calderon said, reflecting on the moment when his long final putt dropped, with a smile which he always wears. Talking about his decision to choose the Sunshine Tour as a stepping stone, Calderon said, “One of my buddies played the MENA Tour in 2016. I actually went to play with him a few events in the second semester of 2016 and he got his Sunshine Tour card. “I went to European Tour Qualifying School and I made it to the second stage and I was going to turn professional at the end of the year and I did not really know where to go. PGA Tour LatinoAmerica, I did not really feel attracted to it. “So, he told me, ‘Dude, I have my Sunshine Tour card, why don’t you go play Q-School there and see what will happen. So, I bought my return ticket coming here in March and going back to Chile in November, so that is how I got here, basically,” he said. However, like most players after their maiden victory, Calderon seemed to battle to maintain the standard he displayed last week, as he finished his third round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am having shot 11-over-par. But given his display in winning, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be back challenging for honours again soon.    
Boom! Vaughn bolts into Dimension Data leadHe’d already made five birdies, and Vaughn Groenewald pulled out his Usain ‘Lightning’ Bolt pose during his brilliant eight-under-par 64 on Saturday which saw him into a three-way share of the lead in the Dimension Data Pro-Am being played at Fancourt. He made three more in a faultless round of 64 on Outeniqua, a good follow-up after his poor one-over on Montagu on Friday and a fitting companion to his opening seven under on The Links. The players play a round on each of the three courses, after which a cut is made to the top 60 players and ties. The final round will be played on Montagu. His three-round total of 14-under-par saw him sharing the top of the leaderboard with Tjaart van der Walt and Breyten Meyer, two strokes clear of Jaco Ahlers. “Everything came together again, like the first day,” said Groenewald. “I started hitting it well again. Yesterday, my course management sucked a bit. Today, I just focused on that the whole day. Every shot that I played, I focused on course management. I wanted to hit it in places where it makes it easier to make birdies, even though that meant bailing out a bit. “I just trusted my putter and it worked today. I had 26 putts today. I saw the lines really well. I just hit the ball onto the flat parts of the greens and tried to make the putts – and that’s what happened.” It was a flawless round from the 43-year-old who lives in George, and he took advantage of the fact that he knows the courses at Fancourt so well. “Local knowledge helps a lot,” he said. “Playing with Dongkwan Kim today, he didn’t know what lines to take for the wind. I’ve played the course so many times with different winds. I took totally different lines with drivers and he was just hitting irons out onto the fairway. So it’s a big advantage.” Van der Walt was also flawless for his five-under 67 on Montagu. He’s only a part-time player now at the age of 43. “Since I’ve played less, I’ve actually played a little better,” he said. “I’ve always battled a little fatigue. I played solid today. I drove it well, hit some good irons. Montagu off the back is long for me. I’m used to the club tees! I managed to roll a few putts in, and I managed the conditions well.” Meyer has made nine consecutive cuts recently, and managed the windy conditions brilliantly at The Links for his six-under-par 67. “I woke up this morning with the wind blowing a bit,” he said. “The Links is more exposed, so I knew it was going to be tough. The wind died down a bit after the back nine, so I knew I just had to give myself chances. There are a lot of par-fives. I’ve been putting really well. I made eight birdies in my practice round here. I’ve always played my best rounds on The Links.” Meyer believes Montagu is the toughest course, and Groenewald doesn’t disagree. “Montagu’s a tough course. Yesterday I shot 73 there. I was two-under at one stage and I just let it go. Tomorrow, I’m just going to go fairways and greens and I’ll probably shoot a good score.”  
Walters smiling ahead of Fancourt weekend actionJustin Walters made a New Year’s resolution to try and smile more on the golf course. At eight-under-par at the halfway mark of the Dimension Data Pro-Am being played at Fancourt this week, he’s got plenty to smile about. He closed out his opening round on The Links at Fancourt with an 80-footer for eagle to get to five-under, and then followed that up with a solid three-under on Montagu ahead of his third round on Outeniqua. The players play a round on each of the three courses, after which a cut is made to the top 60 players and ties. The final round will be played on Montagu. “Certainly I’m trying to smile more, but three putts seem to tighten up the lips quite quickly,” he laughed. “But I’m much cooler and calmer. I seem to be in a better place mentally, and even though the same challenges are there and the same worries and the same nerves and all of that, I seem to be handling the bad shots better and enjoying the good shots more.” One of the reasons he’s smiling more is that he has changed the way he’s practicing. “I’ve brought on a performance consultant. His name’s Ryan Fenwick,” said Walters. “He tracks my game and my strengths and weaknesses. He’s been hammering me on my wedges and my putting and my chipping. He’s giving me ways to train and different ways to approach things. At times, it’s been pretty bad still, but I’m starting to show signs of promise. “Every day I’ve got to send him different information from my round in terms of wedges from certain distances, and then he drills me in the evening on it. We’re trying to attack the scoring side of the game. For the last year or so, I’ve hit the ball quite well, and I feel like I’ve walked with leaving too many out there. We’re trying to address than and hopefully we can keep improving on it.” This week has given him the improvement he’s seeking, after he missed the cut in last week’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship. “It’s nice to bounce back this week and start to play my normal game,” he said. And now’s he’s pumped for the final two rounds at Fancourt. “Every time you go into the weekend with a chance to win, you’re doing something right,” he said. “It’s encouraging. I didn’t have such a great week last week.”  
Jerling hails Sunshine Tour youngstersLuke Jerling says it is motivating to see so many youngsters doing well on the Sunshine Tour this season and attributes that to the Tour’s ability, amongst other things, to attract good players from all walks of life. He was speaking after his second round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am where he shot four-under 68 to get to seven-under for the week and within three shots of the leader, Anthony Michael. “I suppose you can attribute this to the Tour doing well with their q-school,” said Jerling who also came on Tour via the gruelling qualifying school earlier last year. “You, know, bringing in a lot of good players like Matias (Calderon) who played so well last week and Combrinck (Smit), who is also a good mate of mine.” Calderon’s win at the Eye of Africa PGA Championship was a ninth victory claimed by players younger than 30 years of age in the 2017-18 season. Other young winners include Hennie du Plessis, MJ Viljoen, Tyrone Ryan and Jaco Prinsloo among others. Jerling was, naturally, pleased with his effort in the opening two rounds at Fancourt. And, despite the fact that he has never played competitive golf here, Jerling’s showing has been as solid as though he’s been playing here for years. “I got off to a fairly slow start,” he admitted, “because I felt there were few birdie opportunities on the front nine which I didn’t take advantage of. But then, through the middle there, I hit the ball really nicely and picked up a few shots and I’m very happy with my performance.” Having carded a 69 on the Outeniqua layout in the opening round and a 68 at Montagu, Jerling said he was itching to get going on the fabled The Links at Fancourt, where he says he’s determined to produce good numbers. “It’s very nice to be in a good position,” he said, “it’s been a long time since I’d been in contention. It’s really nice to put good rounds back-to-back and get some momentum going into The Links, which I assume is the toughest course around here. But I am looking forward to the challenge and really want to put in a good score there.” Three shots behind the leader, Jerling has every opportunity to add to the number of youngsters who have raised their hands this season, but he knows he still has to do the work on the testing layout on Saturday.  

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