That line was the beauty of the 23-year-old’s game summed up in a sentence, because his limitless optimism is matched by his ability to succeed, which he displayed this week with a solid victory at the first tournament of the Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung.
There are a handful of ways to explain how good Van Tonder is, but the most apparent is this: for the 2014 season he hasn’t missed a cut and has finished outside the top 10 three times. Those results have earned the 2012 Rookie of the Year second place on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit behind England’s Ross Fisher.
“I learnt early this year that you can’t just chase,” said Van Tonder. “You have to be patient and wait for it, otherwise you’ll mess up, so you just play your own game. The goal I’ve got now is to win the Order of Merit and get into the Nedbank Golf Challenge,” he said.
On Friday he clinched victory with a 33-stroke back nine and a 12-under-par total for the week. It was a hard-fought win for the Ebotse local, who had to fend off the charges Tyrone Ferreira, Ulrich van den Berg and Adilson da Silva during the final round.
The setup on day three at the Annika Sorenstam-designed Euphoria course was tough, but in the middle of his round Ferreira managed six birdies in a row from the seventh to the 12th and snatched the lead.
Van Tonder would not be outdone so late in the tournament and began to look for scoring opportunities, which he found and converted into birdies at the 12th, 13th and 15th. With that Ferreira’s charge was over and Van Tonder had secured his second win.
“Sometimes I want to look at leaderboards to see if I need to make more birdies and on a course like this you need to know whether to go for it or not. It was a bit tougher today and my first nine was a bit dodgy, but I came through with a few birdies and managed to win it,” he said.
Jared Harvey carded 72 for the first round and faded into the middle of the pack, but he turned the week around with a Thursday 67 and then shot 69 on Friday to take home sole fourth. Jacques Blaauw shot 72 during the final round to finish sole fifth.