Cricket great Pollock scores maiden win in Gary Player Invitational

Cricket great Shaun Pollock made a significant contribution to his already impressive trophy cabinet when he teamed up with businessman Wessel Witthuhn for a maiden victory in the prestigious Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola at the Zimbali golf course on Sunday.

The amateur duo claimed a runaway victory in the alliance competition of this charity pro-am, finishing the 36 holes on 40-under-par. Their nearest challengers were the team of former Springbok Breyton Paulse and businessman Ron Boon on 34-under.

Pollock and Witthuhn set the tone for their triumph with a score of 15-under in the windy Saturday conditions, and then added a score of 25-under in the far calmer conditions on the Sunday. They celebrated a double triumph as their professionals, Mark James and George Coetzee, won the betterball on a score of 19 under, with rounds of 64 and 61. Jaco van Zyl and Ian Woosnam took second place in the betterball on 15 under.

“I know my way around this course and it was great to play with the professionals, and also help Mr Player raise the money for charity. As professional sportsmen we have a great platform to help give something back,” said Pollock, who played as virtually a third professional in their fourball off his scratch handicap.

“I made five birdies and an eagle on Sunday, so it was nice to contribute,” he said.

Witthuhn was also delighted with his first victory in this event. “Everybody asked if I was nervous playing with three such good golfers,” said the 14 handicap. “But the nature of this tournament is that the people who play here are by their own nature also caring individuals who have time for an amateur like me.”

Professional Coetzee couldn’t have asked for a more timeous victory as he prepares for a big summer on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa over the next two weeks.

“I’ve got two big tournaments coming so this is good mental practice for me,” he said.

Coetzee was also full of praise for the work done by this event to raise money for disadvantaged children in South Africa.

“It’s been such a good tournament. What Gary Player does for us as golfers, and then also for charity and South Africa as a whole, is amazing. It’s an honour to be part of something like this. Obviously I hope that one day I can achieve some of the success he did on the golf course, but more importantly that I can achieve as much as he has off the course as well.”

Player thanked all the participants for their support. “I’ve never seen scoring in this event like we had at Zimbali this year. The course was fantastic. And Coca-Cola and all our sponsors have been amazing in their support of our drive to make a difference.”

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