He talks a good game, and Danie van Tonder has certainly had an incredible start to the 2014 Sunshine Tour, but he’d like nothing less than a victory in this week’s Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club.
Currently fourth on the 2014 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with a handy total of nearly R2.8-million from his six tournaments, a handy share of second in the Tshwane Open, he is really just one round away from a breakthrough victory that many thought might have come sooner after he turned professional in 2011 and was the Sunshine Tour’s Rookie of the year in 2012.
The one round he needs to find seems really to be just one in four, as his performance in last week’s Telkom Business PGA Championship underlined –as did, to an extent, his Tshwane Open showing: AT Country Club Johannesburg, a third-round 71 was his only round over 70, and, in the end, had he carded 69 or better as he did throughout the rest of the week, he would have been in the play-off with Titch Moore and Ulrich van den Berg – or even won the title outright.
“I’ve been there a few times already this year and it’s just about consistency,” he said. “My whole game is quite good. I’m not struggling with anything; I’m hitting the ball well and chipping and putting well.”
That third round last week started uneventfully with two pars, but then he made a triple-bogey seven at the third and immediately followed it with two bogeys before steadying the ship and making five birdies to slip one-under-par for the round.
That left him with a lot of chasing to do in the final round – too much as it turned out, and his four-under-par 68 was good for a share of fourth.
He missed the cut in last year’s tournament in Harare, but a share of ninth in 2012 in his rookie season gave him a good four-round tour around the course.
He comes to Harare a hardened character, and one willing to ride the roller-coaster which is the route for so many to a first professional victory. “I’ve been through this before and I feel comfortable out here,” he said. “I like pressure and I strive for it, because there no other way of doing it for me. The only thing you want to do is make as many birdies as you can.”