The ninth in a series of profiles of the top 10 players on the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit:
No. 2 – Darren Fichardt
It was a season characterised by near-misses for Darren Fichardt, and 2013 will probably be a year he will look back on as a character-builder as much as a year of success.
He started with that fine victory in the Africa Open in February, and then saw his final-round 69 overtaken by Dawie van der Walt’s 67 for the title in the Tshwane Open. He had another second-place finish on the Sunshine Tour when Jake Roos pipped him to the post in the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open.
He led the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup going into the final tournament, but an average performance in that saw him cede that lead to Jaco van Zyl.
And in the end, he saw Van der Walt edge past him to win the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit when he finished in a share of 50th in the Nelson Mandela Championship in which Fichardt needed to finish eighth or better to clinch his second Order of Merit title.
He finished five times inside the top 25 in his European Tour campaign for his best-ever year on that Tour, and his Sunshine Tour year was similarly his best-ever. His prize money of R 4,518,495.00 was more than three-times his previous most successful season when he finished third on the Order of Merit in 2009.
But Fichardt is nothing if not determined: He goes into his 21st year as a professional secure in the knowledge that he is still capable of winning and secure in the belief that the tough times of 2013 will make him a fiercer competitor in 2014.