McNulty was one of many great names in original Di Data

Mark McNulty held off Brenden Pappas, future world number one Nick Price and fast-finishing American Ricky Willison for the first-ever Dimension Data Pro-Am title at the Gary Player Country Club in February 1996.

The Dimension Data Pro-Am will be played this year from February 17-20 on all three courses at Fancourt in George.

Interestingly, the original event featured some names deeper in the field to conjure with: Amongst the players who didn’t make the 1996 cut were Miguel Angel Jimenez and future Open champion Paul Lawrie.

Also not making the cut was the man who was runner-up to John Daly the year before in the Open at St Andrews, Italian Costantino Rocca.

Tucked away amongst those missing the cut was David Williams, now known to friends of the Sunshine Tour as one of the nicest tournament directors on the European Tour to work on the co-sanctioned events that form the climax of the South African season.

Stephen Ames was also given the weekend off. The man who holds dual Canadian and Trinidad and Tobago citizenship went on to share fifth the next year in the Open.

There were also players missing the cut who went on to become Sunshine Tour stalwarts over the years: Hendrik Buhrmann, Kevin Stone, Clinton Whitelaw (who won the 1993 SA Open and went on to win the 1997 Morocco Open), 2007 SA Open champion James Kingston, Alan McLean, Grant Muller, Mark Murless, Brett Liddle and Adilson Da Silva were all there.

Kingston, Muller and Da Silva all managed wins on the 2010 Sunshine Tour.

Amongst the players who did in fact make the weekend in the 1996 Dimension Data Pro-Am were Ireland’s Des Smythe and Eamonn Darcy, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Welshman Ian Woosnam, New Zealander Frank Nobilo and a very young Retief Goosen.

Goosen would go on to win the tournament in 2002, following in the footsteps of the 2000 champion Lee Westwood and the 2001 winner Darren Clark.

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