5th September 2017 | Sunshine Tour
Loubser chases third Fish River rookie victory
The last two Sunshine Tour tournaments played at the Fish River Sun Country Club have been won by rookies, and this year’s winner of the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School, Herman Loubser, is hoping that he can make it three in a row.
Rourke van der Spuy won in 2015 on his way to the Rookie of the Year title, as did Christiaan Bezuidenhout in 2017.
The tournament gets underway on Wednesday, and Loubser wants to halt a run of four missed cuts. The winner’s cheque of nearly R119,000 would go a long way to closing the gap between Loubser in third place and the current leader of the Rookie of the Year race, American Zack Byrd.
Loubser played a lot of his early golf on the Isle of Man, and it seemed probable that the last two tournaments – at the Wild Coast Sun and at Zimbali outside Durban – would have suited him down to the ground in the windy conditions the players experienced.
“I thought that I was okay in the wind,” said Loubser, “but the last two events have had me confused. And after the first round at Zimbali, where I shot a 70, I thought it had come right.
“But when I made a triple bogey on the first hole of the second round, and three-putted the second, it all went pear-shaped. I tried to encourage myself remembering how JC Ritchie came back from a poor position in the first round in Harare to win the Zimbabwe Open, but my mind was gone.”
He will have to show more mental fortitude than that this week, and he’ll have to rediscover his ability to play in the wind too. Not only does he have the likes of Byrd to contend with, but defending champion Bezuidenhout is also in town.
And even more threatening, the form of Jared Harvey, who won so impressively in the wind at Zimbali last week for his maiden Sunshine Tour title, is likely to continue now that he has broken his duck.
“I’ve been working on the mental side of my game,” said Loubser, “and I believe it’s coming right. So let’s hope that the rookie winning trend here continues.”