ItÂs been 11 years since the Sunshine Tour visited Royal Cape Golf Club and for Hennie Otto it will be a trip down memory lane when he tees it up in the inaugural Lion of Africa Cape Town Open on Thursday.
ÂWe used to play the Tour Champs here, and itÂs good to come back to a nice, old course. ItÂs going to be a good week, having a tournament back in Cape Town. I think the people here are passionate about golf, so itÂs going to be nice to see a lot of people here on the weekend,Â he said.
Otto was defending champion at last weekÂs SA Open, but thatÂs not why heÂs been in the news recently. The reason is that he broke into the record books with a final-round 62 at Serengeti Golf Estate, which was equaled the lowest score ever recorded at an SA Open. He claimed the course record in the process.
ÂItÂs always nice to shoot low scores on the final day, like last week. It gives you more confidence going into new tournaments. It felt like I won last week, the way I played on Sunday,Â he said.
With 12 wins on the Sunshine Tour, Otto knew what to expect the course this week.
ÂTheyÂve lengthened a few tees and itÂs in good shape this year. If the windÂs not going to blow, itÂs going to be low,Â he said.
James Kingston, who last played at Royal Cape at the 2001 Vodacom Players Championship, spoke wistfully of his return to the Mother City.
ÂAll the old faces, my old friends were here. It was nice to bump into a lot of those guys and it just feels like the old days again. I must tell you that there were a lot of holes out there that I couldnÂt remember, even though it was only 11 years ago,Â he said.
Those 11 years have seen many changes, but like Kingston said, many of the old faces are back. More than a decade later Martin Maritz, Alan McLean, Bradford Vaughan, Omar Sandys and Darren Fichardt (to name a few) are back in action.
Kingston was all smiles about old rivalries in Cape Town.
ÂItÂs so nice to play an event in the Cape again. ItÂs sad that we donÂt get to pay here more often. To come back to one of the oldest courses in Cape Town, an old-style golf course that has hosted so many tournaments in the past, itÂs nice to come back and enjoy that again.Â