Brandon Stone has dived into the deep end and will start his career at the BMW International Open this week, but has spent his lifetime preparing for such moments, learning from a 10-time Sunshine Tour champion: his father Kevin.
He turned professional just three weeks ago after ranking second on the American collegiate rankings according to GolfWeek, and will play in his first career event at the BMW International Open on a sponsor’s exemption.
“My first start will be at the BMW International Open,” said Brandon. “I am very grateful for the opportunity BMW are giving me and hope I reward them with a great performance.”
Named Golf Digest Amateur of the Year in 2011, the Pretoria boy has represented South Africa at junior and senior levels, amassing a staggering 18 titles over the past four years.
Kevin Stone, speaking from the Sunshine Big Easy Tour’s Wingate tournament, was excited to watch his son take over the family business, but kept an eye on Europe from across the pond.
“(Brandon’s) caddie is Gary du Plooy, who's 53, and I phoned him last night to find out how things are. He said all was good, but he just wished Brandon would stop calling him Uncle Gary,” said the proud father.
“He practiced with James Kingston and Keith Horne yesterday. I've known James for 40 years, so this whole things is quite surreal for me. I just wish I could be there.”
Having a father who’s competed for longer than you’ve been alive certainly lends a hand to your mental game. Stone junior has lived professional golf from before he could swing a club, and that first-hand experience is invaluable. Roll on the next Stone.
"He knows how tough this game is. He's been around professional golf his whole life." His father summarised.