By Michael Vlismas
The Sunshine Tour this week tees off the 11th season of its Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour, presented by Samsung, with a field loaded with proven champions for the opening event at the Euphoria Golf Estate.
Heinrich Bruiners (@Heinie1) is back to defend the title he won after coming back from a car accident that almost ended his career.
And he was one of the few to get the better of the tough Euphoria layout, finishing five strokes clear of the field.
Adilson Da Silva, who has been in good form this season and finished tied second here last year, is also in the field this week, as are Titch Moore, the current Telkom PGA Championship champion, and Keith Horne.
Trevor Fisher Jnr will hope to keep building on what has been a breakthrough season for him so far, while Christiaan Basson, Danie van Tonder and Lyle Rowe have all enjoyed victories coming into this week. And Bryce Easton, returning from the Asian Tour, and Neil Schietekat are both due victories, while the experienced Ulrich van den Berg heads to the Waterberg region with top-10 finishes in his last two tournaments. Veteran professional Nico van Rensburg will also tee it up in Wednesday’s first round.
The Vodacom Origins of Golf is one of the longest-running series on the Sunshine Tour, with six tournaments each played for a total purse of R600 000.
This week’s tournament is also the only time on the Sunshine Tour that the country’s professional golfers play a course designed by a woman, with the Annika Sorenstam layout always providing a good test.
Bruiners certainly unlocked its secrets last year, and hopes to do so again and become one of the few to defend a title on this series.
“I love the course. The greens are tough and you need to really think about what you’re doing before you putt. But I’m very impressed with her design. The bunkers are set up perfectly in the landing areas, so you can’t just stand on the tee and say, ‘I’m going to bash one down there’. There’s a lot of strategy required from off the tee,” he said.