It’s been a strange year for Allan Versfeld after he treated his followers to six top-10 finishes on the Sunshine Tour as well as his maiden victory as a professional.
His victory came in the Western Cape Vodacom Origins of Golf event at De Zalze, and he heads to Langebaan Country Estate this week in defence of that title with just one top-10 finish to his credit in 2013 – and four missed cuts.
For someone who also got six top-10s in his rookie season in 2011, it’s all a b it worrying, but he will have taken heart from the fact that his solitary 2013 top-10 came in the Sunshine Tour’s last event, the Vodacom Origins of Golf Euphoria.
He pulled off a share of fourth behind first-time winner Heinrich Bruiners on a very difficult course, carding rounds of 73-70-71 during a week in which many top players found the conditions too tough to give chase to the eventual winner.
While those scores paled somewhat in comparison to the sparking 65-66-67 sequence he pieced together over 54 holes at De Zalze last year for his victory over Ockie Strydom, given their context, they show enough of a return to form that will make him a tough proposition at Langebaan.
He will also draw on memories of his maiden win, during which he had the better of a galaxy of pedigreed Sunshine Tour stars: Behind him were the likes of European Tour regulars Keith Horne, Jbe’ Kruger, Jaco van Zyl and Darren Fichardt, as well as multiple local winners Jean Hugo and Jake Roos.
His performance at De Zalze was assured: He made just three bogeys throughout the 54 holes, two of which came in a final round during which he negated the possible ill effects of those with a pair of eagles.
It was that kind of confidence that made the breakthrough victory appear to be the herald of many more. And while expectations of a second win just a year later may have been unrealistic, he’s too good a player not to have another trip to the winner’s circle very soon – and his recent performance supports that belief.
The R600,000 tournament gets underway on Wednesday.