It’s been seven years since the Sunshine Tour headed to Polokwane Golf Club, the scene of Bradford Vaughan’s 2006 Limpopo victory. This week he tackles the R550,000 Polokwane Classic looking to win again.
“It’s nice to be back, and it feels like just the other day that I won here,” he reminisced.
With eight victories on tour, Vaughan has seen it all through the years. In his last Polokwane start he beat his good friend and fellow veteran Warren Abery in a sudden-death playoff, and those memories came flooding back as he played in the pre-tournament pro-am on Wednesday.
“The course is nice, but there are one or two changes,” said Vaughan. “The rough is a little bit thicker, but the track suits my eye and I always enjoy competing here.”
The tall Vanderbijlpark resident has been in form of late and is headed for a big result.
He got the ball rolling during the Lombard Insurance Classic in late May, where his Sunday 69 was good enough to secure a share of 19th. Last week at Vodacom Origins of Golf Simola he carded 67s on both the Thursday and Friday to finish tied for fifth, which heralded the threat he presents this week.
“I’ve been working hard over the last few months, I’ve found something in my swing,” he explained. “This game is all confidence, and mine is starting to build. It feels like something is going to happen soon.”
Many of the tracks visited by the Sunshine Tour host a tournament every year and the touring professionals know what to expect. Not so this week, which makes for tantalising surprises.
Vaughan certainly has an edge at the 6447-metre track, not only because of his experience there, but also because of the seven-year gap since the Sunshine Tour’s last visit. The golden oldies certainly know a few tricks that the newcomers don’t, and that will aid the former champion.
“It’s getting tough out here. Every year there are new youngsters coming out and they are all very talented, but we kill them with our experience!” he laughed.
The ever-smiling Warren Abery has shot 63 at Polokwane Golf Club in years gone by, and is in with a good shout this week. Prior to his uncharacteristic missed cut at Simola a week ago, he made four cuts in four starts, the biggest of which was a tied-seventh finish at the Lombard Insurance Classic.
There’s a monkey growing on the back of PH McIntyre, who has two second-place results from his last two tournaments. With four top-10s and only two missed cuts this year, he’s knocked enough times to feel that a win is due.
“I just need a breakthrough, but it will come in time. I’m feeling it, and it’s lekker to be up there every week. I’m playing well, especially in the final rounds and that’s given me a great boost,” he smiled.