Kallis, Boucher get an innings at Leopard Creek

Jacques Kallis (left) and Mark Boucher (right) with Sunshine Tour board chairman Johann Rupert

South African cricket legends Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher were two of the players who teed off in Tuesday’s pro-am ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club.

“I think I looked forward to this week during the whole of the Australian tour,” said Kallis, the world’s best all-rounder who has just returned from a victorious trip Down Under where South Africa cemented its status as the world’s number one test-playing nation with a second-successive series defeat of the hosts.

“It’s nice that the time has eventually arrived to play here on this gorgeous course – it’s always nice coming up to Leopard Creek,” added Kallis. “That’s why we tried to finish that third test off in four days – get back to South Africa and get an extra day’s practice in.”

Boucher, the world’s leading wicketkeeper who was forced to hasten his looming retirement when he was struck in the eye by a bail ahead of the Proteas’ triumphant tour of England earlier this year, was not too sure of the quality of his game, but was looking forward to his first round on a course of which he became a member the previous evening.

Boucher, who finished up with 999 dismissals as a test wicketkeeper, was made an honorary member of the club by Sunshine Tour board chairman Johann Rupert after he was promised it if he reached 1,000 test dismissals.

Once it was recalled that Boucher took a single wicket as a bowler in a drawn test match against the West Indies, the membership was awarded, and he was able to join his great friend Kallis as a member of arguably the best course in South Africa – Kallis was awarded honorary membership when he final made a test double-century.

“My game’s been going, rather than coming on,” joked Boucher. “I haven’t played a lot since my injury so I’ll have to hit and hope. I’m finding reading long putts difficult with just one eye, and I’m not getting the ball close enough to cut long putts out, because the eye problem’s not that easy on the swing either.

“Unfortunately, they don’t give you an extra couple of shots if you’ve only got one eye,” said Boucher who plays off an eight handicap.

Kallis, who plays off a seven, feels he doesn’t get to play that often when touring with the Proteas: “We got a couple of rounds in while we were in Australia, but you never get enough in – unfortunately, the cricket gets in the way of the golf,” he said. “I’ve been hitting it alright lately, but around here, I think you need to hit it straight, so I hope I can do that today.”

The cricketers were playing with European Tour star Danny Willett, who won the BMW International Open in Cologne, Germany.

“We’re looking forward to that – we haven’t played with him before,” said Kallis. “It will be nice to get his thoughts and see how he does things. It’s always good when different sporting codes get together, and you can share stories and learn from one another.”

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