Oliver Bekker heads to Kharkov Superior Cup ranked 148th on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit. He won the Dimension Data Pro-Am and played in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last year, and needs to draw on those ‘big match’ experiences to succeed this week.
“It’s been a privilege to play in Europe and against some of the best players in the world. This year has been good for me to experience golf at many new courses,” he said.
Bekker, who plays out of Stellenbosch Golf Club, is angling for a place in the top 45 earners on the Challenge Tour, which will secure his place at the Challenge Tour Grand Final. Four events, including this week’s €200,000 tournament, remain before the season finale.
The 28-year-old has opted out of the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf Parys tournament this week, instead taking on Superior Golf & Spa Resort in Ukraine’s Kharkov region.
Coming from the coast has taught Bekker accuracy with his irons, an attribute that will help him negotiate the short (6303-metre) Ukranian course, which plays to a par of 72.
Bekker is on the right track for success this week. He started the year with a win at the Telkom PGA Pro-Am, and last month took his best result on the Challenge Tour thus far, sharing 12th at the Norwegian Challenge on 11-under-par. The South African is on a high after coming tied sixth at the Sunshine Tour’s Wild Waves Challenge a fortnight ago and needs to carry his recent good form to Superior Golf & Spa Resort.
More than €17,000 stand between Bekker and the 45th place on the Challenge Tour’s Order of Merit, and there is no time left to waste. Having played only six events on the European development tour this season, Bekker has left himself in a make-or-break scenario.
The three-time Sunshine Tour winner is a dark horse this week and it’s up to him to make the most of his chances.