Here’s a look at the top five players on the Order of Merit of the Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage as they go into te Tour Championship this week at the Els Club Copperleaf:
Number 1 Â Jeff Inglis
Date of Birth Â 11 April 1978
Represents: Altitude Sports
Inglis has held the Big Easy throne for much of the season, due mostly to his consistent good results. He has finished outside the money only once this Big Easy season, and 10 of those results were top-10s. He has three Sunshine Tour top-10 finishes and took three top-10s on the Big Easy Tour last year. In fact, Inglis has only shown prowess through the last two seasons and duly holds top spot on the Order of Merit as we head to the Tour Champs. Watch out, because Inglis is the man to beat this week.
ÂItÂs a huge thing to be playing in the Tour Champs. To make it to the top 30 by the end of the season is something quite special Â it means youÂve played consistently good golf throughout the year. ItÂs also a huge honour to be playing, and there is a lot to play for,Â he said.
Number 2 Â Riekus Nortje
Date of Birth Â 4 February 1991
Home Club: Fancourt
Nortje has been a revelation throughout his rookie season, and broke Big Easy Tour records throughout the year, starting with his back-to-back wins at ERPM and Benoni Golf Clubs. But that wasnÂt enough for the 21-year-old, who won again at Irene Golf Club last month, claiming a new ranking on the Sunshine Tour with his third victory. With a tied-19th finish at Vodacom Origins of Golf Selborne, six Big Easy top-10s and six cuts made on the Sunshine Tour this year, Nortje is as dangerous as they come this week.
ÂItÂs a big thing for me to have played my way into Tour Champs. This gives me a great opportunity to break new ground and maybe take a fourth win. IÂm sure everyone will go for it this week; itÂs the perfect build-up to next year.Â
Number 3 – Teboho Sefatsa
Date of Birth Â 27 June 1983
Home Club Â Glendower Golf Club
Sefatsa has enjoyed a fantastic season on the Big Easy Tour, and boasts seven top 10 finishes in his 11 events in 2012. The 29-year old recorded second place finishes at Modderfontein and Benoni, and has only once finished outside the money. Couple these with his three top-10 finishes on the Sunshine Tour, including a top-10 finish in the Zim Open, and itÂs easy to see why Teboho is where he is.
ÂIt means a lot to be playing in the Tour Championship. ItÂs such an honour to be amongst the top 30 guys, but I also feel like itÂs great reward for my consistency in the 11-odd events IÂve played in,Â he said.
Number 4 Â Jared Harvey
Date of Birth Â 6 August 1988
Home Club Â Mount Edgecombe CC
After winning the SA Amateur Strokeplay in 2011 and subsequently turning pro, Harvey has made a terrific start to his professional career on the Big Easy and Sunshine Tours. He has made the top 15 on four occasions on the Big Easy Tour, but his crowning achievements are surely the back-to-back victories he secured at Royal Johannesburg and Gary Player. Jared also showed his ability to compete at the highest level when he recorded a fifth place finish at the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Selborne, and richly deserves to be right up there in fourth place on the Order of Merit going into the Tour Championship.
ÂPlaying in the Tour Championship is massive for me. ItÂs such great recognition for all the hard work and effort IÂve put in this year, and even in the years before that. Hopefully now I can finish off the Big Easy Tour season in style this week,Â he said.
Number 5 Â Johan Bekker
Date of Birth Â 20 June 1985
Home Club: Woodhill Country Club
Bekker has taken four top-10 finishes on the Big Easy Tour this year, and iced the cake with a win at Big Easy Modderfontein. The 27-year-old produced results last year as well, making four top-15 finishes on the Big Easy Tour and also claiming a share of 11th at the BMG Classic.
“It’s really important for me to play in the Tour Champs. I haven’t had a great season on the Sunshine Tour, and this gives me an opportunity to earn my card. My win at Modderfontein did huge amounts for my confidence, and I have the belief in myself that I can make it.”