Fun showdown at Copperleaf

The Sunshine Big Easy Tour Championship entrants, comprised of the top 30 on the tour’s Order of Merit, played a pro-am in place of their practice round ahead of the R250,000 finale presented by Stonehage.

These up-and-coming professionals were partnered with Stonehage clients, Big Easy Tour rules officials and several staff members of the Sunshine Tour at Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate on Tuesday.

The pro-am played a Betterball Stableford scoring system, taking one professional and one amateur score. There was a shotgun start at 12.00 on the Ernie Els designed course, and the heat came not only from the beautiful conditions but from players and amateurs after bragging rights were laid down.

The day would offer the pros a chance to relax as they prepared for the crescendo of the 2011 Big Easy Tour.

Adversely, the amateurs had a chance to enjoy a day on the course while pitting themselves against the future Ernies.

In a field containing 10 Big Easy Tour winners, amateurs were treated to some great displays of golf over the 6616-metre course.

The toughest holes are the ninth and 10th respectively, and both play as heavily bunkered par fours, causing difficulty through the turn.

On the result side it was Dean Burmester who raced ahead when he carded 62 for the first round. Burmester leads the Order of Merit race and will take plenty of confidence from such a low practice round.

Henk Alberts and Adrian Ford both went round in 66, and despite not finding the groove of Burmester, the pair will be pleased to have carded well below par.

The pro-am was a great opportunity for the amateurs, but it was the casual atmosphere that allowed the pros to experience the course ahead of the real showdown on Wednesday.

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