Club pros seizing their chances

When teaching professional Maurice Prinsloo found out he would have the chance to play in a Sunshine Tour event he headed straight out onto Sishen Golf Club and started practicing.

The club professional received a sponsor’s invite to play his home course in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Sishen tournament. And that was all the inspiration he needed.

“My game is quite solid at the moment and it’s because I told myself to prepare for this. Every day I was on the course playing off the back tees like the Sunshine Tour normally sets it up. I played all types of shots and putted all over the greens. I prepared really hard – I even started going to the gym – and this week I’m going to give it my all,” he said.

Prinsloo’s dream, like every club professional that sits behind the pro shop counter, is to test his mettle in competitive rounds against the touring players. His 70 in pre-qualifying was the result of many hours spent on the course, because there was no way he was going to let his opportunity slip by.

“Two-under is a good score for anybody, but I had prepared for this and just took it as it came today. It’s my first time playing a professional tournament and I am just so happy to be in for the first event. I’m going to give it my best shot,” he said. Even though he plays the course often and is in his fourth year of golf teaching, Prinsloo was impressed by the setup of a course he knows all too well.

“The greens were quite difficult, which was a really nice change. The course was set up so well, and it played very differently to what I’m used to. It was much tougher, but I really enjoyed it like that,” he said.

He is not the first to see his dream come to fruition. A week ago Rudy Whitfield clinched victory at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour’s Glendower tournament, seizing the opportunity to show the touring guys just how good some club professionals are, especially at their home courses.

“It’s special to win on your home course, and when you can pull it off against the guys who are playing and practicing every day it puts a little light on. You start to wonder whether you shouldn’t be practicing a little harder…” said Whitfield.

A member of the Sunshine Tour for 11 years, Whitfield was surprised that his first win came five years after he had hung up his touring shoes. But he looked forward to another such opportunity.

“It’s always nice to play in a professional tournament,” he said. “Any time I play a competitive round of golf I enjoy it – that’s really what most golfers look forward to. I’d like to play more, especially if it’s a local tournament. If I’m allowed to play a few tournaments I’ll definitely take the opportunity.”

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