For three years the Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage has opened doors for up-and-coming players from Southern Africa. On Friday Divan Gerber became the next youngster to watch after he won the Tour Championship and the Order of Merit.
“This is a learning curve and these are the steps you need to follow to get up to the top. I’m overwhelmed right now, but this is great,” he said.
The 25-year-old began touring in 2011, a year in which he won Big Easy Maccauvlei. Over the next three years he picked up a further 13 top-15 results on the development tour. Those experiences prepared him for the final round at Ebotse Golf Estate on Friday, where he shot 70 for a two shot victory over Attie Schwartzel, Francois Coetzee and Pieter Moolman.
“I've experienced so much,” said Gerber. “That’s what’s nice about this tour, it gives you that opportunity to learn here and then take that into the main tour to go and make a living.”
He’s also learnt plenty about the grind as a professional golfer.
“I made a nine at Big Easy Benoni last year that lost me the tournament and then this year I lost in a playoff hole at Kempton Park after I hit my ball out of bounds. It’s not nice to have those memories in your way, but that’s where you learn,” he said.
The Bethlehem local carded a Wednesday 67 to lead the first round at Tour Champs and never looked back. He wrapped up a wire to wire victory and secured the Order of Merit, thereby earning the first of five 2014 Sunshine Tour cards that were on offer.
“I didn’t know I had won the order of merit,” said Gerber. “We’ve got this win in the bag and that’s the cherry on top. I just wanted to make sure that I came in the top five and kept my sunshine tour card for next year.”
The new champion was amazed by the opportunities that lay before him.
“This is a big Christmas present for me. I can relax in December and have a vacation for two weeks, which is good. This is my second win on this tour, and I would like to take this to the main tour and play there where the big boys play and maybe go further, maybe Asia, you never know,” he said.