Darren Fichardt had a share of second in the SA Open back in January 2000, and he will be looking to finally improve on that performance in the 104th South African Open Championship next week at Glendower Golf Club.
The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis is once again hosting the second-oldest open championship in golf, and Fichardt, with 13 victories to his name on the Sunshine Tour, would love to lift the prestigious trophy at the end of the tournament.
“I’ve had a lot of top-fives at the SA Open, and this is one I really want to put up into the trophy cabinet,” said Fichardt. “I’ve won enough times to know that it is possible. You just have to go out there and play it one hole at a time. At the end of the week you could be walking out with the trophy.”
In last year’s event at Glendower, an opening round of five-over-par 77 hindered him somewhat, and it took a superb second round of seven-under-par 65 to get him back into contention. He carded a third-round 69 to stay in touch with the leaders, but, on a day on which the eventual champion Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark fired his closing 67, Fichardt’s level-par 72 saw him finish 14 shots off the lead.
However, Fichardt has more recent form at the testing Glendower layout to point to as he prepares for the national showpiece: He shared second at last October’s BMG Classic played on the course, which was won by Merrick Bremner.
And his showing over that 54-hole event gives him a clue as to what he has to work on to hoist himself up that final rung on the leaderboard: He closed that tournament with a level-par 72 too, indicating to him that if he can shave some strokes from par during his closing round on the course, he can be the one to have his name etched on the famous South African Open Championship trophy next Sunday.