Vaal De Grace golf course is a home from home for Bloemfontein-based Makgetha Mazibuko, which is why he is quietly confident ahead of the Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung at this Nick Price-designed course which hugs the Vaal River.
Mazibuko had a pleasing couple of days in the traditional two-day pro-am, finishing 10th with his amateur partner and walking away with a closest-to-the-pin prize. And he is looking forward to a good showing in the tournament, which begins on Thursday.
“The course is looking great. The greens are nice and fast and that suits my putting. I play four to five times a month here so I know the course and know the conditions,” he said.
The wind really got up during Wednesday’s second day of the pro-am and Mazibuko feels it will be a real factor if it continues to blow until the weekend.
“The problem with the wind here is that it tends to swirl a lot, which makes life very difficult. This is especially true off the tee. If I can get some consistency off the tee, I’ll have a good weekend. My irons are working well and I am hitting more greens in regulation, so if I can make fewer errors with my driver, I reckon I can have a good tournament.”
Another Bloemfontein-based player who was a surprise late inclusion in the field is Dean Burmester. Visa problems prevented him from keeping an appointment in Kazakhstan on the European Challenge Tour so he will be teeing it up here this week.
The pro-am, which concluded on Wednesday, was won by Jaco Ahlers and his amateur partner, Henry Nicols.
The tournament includes a charity initiative, with funds being raised for organisations dealing with gender-based violence. Vodacom make a donation to these organisations at every Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament and this week R139 200 was collected, with R94 200 of that coming from the birdies scored during the pro-am and an additional R45 000 from a “Charity Putt” with the pros on Tuesday.
By Guy Hawthorne (for Michael Vlismas Media)