Investec sponsored a long-drive competition in Swaziland this week, and Bruce McDonald claimed first place after he smashed the ball 360 metres down the fairway.
ÂIÂve always hit the ball pretty far. Yesterday was funny, because I cracked my driver on the 15th hole, so the first time I had hit that new driver was on the 17th. I hit it once and it went about 350 (metres), so I was feeling good when I got to the long-drive competition,Â he said.
Three prizes were awarded, and Trevor Fisher Jnr’s 352-metre monster drive was first as a benchmark, followed shortly after by Titch MooreÂs 348, but McDonald showed them all with his 360-metre bomber.
ÂAll of the crowds give you a bit of adrenaline, and I hit a really good one,Â said McDonald. ÂIt was nice to have that set up for us, and everyone was around egging each other on, so it was a pretty cool atmosphere.Â
The only rule was that it had to hit the fairway, but McDonald had an edge, having competed in several Hooters long-drive competitions in the United States.
ÂFish set the mark early, so I was just trying to get one out the face. IÂve won a few of these on the Hooters Tour in America, and if I really want to I can get it out there. You just have to hit it hard and close your eyes,Â he said.
It was an exciting competition as the players gathered round the tee, making comments to each other and trying to earn some bragging rights.
Fisher set the pace early, and stayed the man to beat for a long time, despite Moore putting his name on lips when he hit a 348-metre beauty. But McDonald managed to outdo both, winding up and unleashing his 360-metres winner. The final result was Moore third, Fisher second and McDonald first.
Some of the crowd favourites, most notably Merrick Bremner, failed to make the fairway. Bremner, who is notoriously long off the tee, hooked his first shot far enough keep security guards at a nearby car-park on their toes.
A spot prize of R1000 was on offer to any player outdriving Sunshine Tour Executive Director Selwyn Nathan, provided both of the professionalÂs shots lay on the fairway. Nathan is no slouch on the course, and placed it squarely on the fairway, laying down the challenge. Wallie Coetsee was the only man to claim the bonus, putting both squarely on the short grass and clear of NathanÂs ball.
It was a fun event, and numerous professionals came to watch the contest as the Sunshine TourÂs big hitters put each other to the test.
Photograph (from left to right): Sam Hackner of Investec, Dean O’Riley, Neil Schietekat, Selwyn Nathan and Thabang Simon.