With the Sunshine Tour having produced two first-time winners this year, several players teeing it up in this week’s Polokwane Classic will be hoping for something similar at the Polokwane Golf Club.
The R550 000 tournament, which tees off on Thursday, is the newest on the local schedule, bringing professional tournament golf back to the home of double US Open champion Retief Goosen for the first time in seven years.
And a host of players have travelled north hoping for a breakthrough of their own.
Danie van Tonder was only 13 years old when Goosen won his second US Open in 2004, and admits he remembers nothing of that. But finishes of seventh and second in his last two tournaments are certainly fresh in his memory.
“I’d been struggling with my game before this and worked really hard, especially on my short game. It seems to be coming together now,” he said.
“I feel I’m getting closer to a maiden victory, but I just need that little bit of luck to break through. I feel that once I’ve won the first tournament, the next one will be a lot easier. It’s only my second year on tour and I’m exempt for every tournament, so everything’s going according to plan for now.”
Van Tonder, a big hitter, will certainly appreciate a course considered short by modern standards.
“It’s short, but the rough is surprisingly thick. I’ve been working on hitting the ball straighter, and that will be my focus again this week. I just want to keep it as simple as possible by hitting fairways to allow me to attack the pins.”
Neil Schietekat arrives in Polokwane hoping to continue with the momentum of his finish of tied second in last week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf Simola.
Although he didn’t get the first title he desperately wants, he did turn a major corner in terms of his confidence.
And PH McIntyre has finished no worse than 11th in his last eight tournaments, including sharing second last week at Simola.