Over the next few weeks the stars of South African golf will be headed back to these fairways for the lucrative summer leg of the Sunshine Tour. And so too will two young golfers many hope will become the country’s next superstars of the game.
Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous have both moved from being dominant forces on the amateur circuit to rising stars in the professional ranks. And both will feature in the biggest tournaments on the local circuit over the summer.
This week, Haydn Porteous tees it up in the R600 000 BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club, and a man who will be watching his progress is celebrated South African teaching professional Gavan Levenson.
Levenson has his golf academy at Glendower and honed Porteous’s swing early in his career. “I think he’s definitely got it to become something,” he said on the eve of Friday’s first round of the BMG Classic.
“Haydn is capable of shooting very low scores, and you need to be able to do this in the modern game. I wouldn’t be surprised if this week he shows us some of his true potential.”
As a man who has won twice on the European Tour, topped the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, won the SA Open and SA PGA Championship, and coached the likes of Charl Schwartzel and Ashleigh Simon, Levenson has an eye for these things.
“I definitely think Haydn and Brandon Stone are our next superstars. I hope they live up to all the expectations, but they’re both dedicated golfers and I’m looking forward to watching them this summer.”
It’s been the history of South African golf that each generation has been followed by another equally strong group of golfers.
“Now we have Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen at the forefront, and I think guys like Brandon and Haydn are the next wave. We’re looking a bit thin in the amateur ranks at the moment, but a lot of the young guys have turned pro so we have a bit of a void there. And in the women’s game, Nobuhle Dlamini looks like a future star and she’ll be going to the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School at the end of this year. But we’re running a bit lean on players in women’s golf.”
For this week’s 54-hole BMG Classic, Levenson predicts a winning score of around 12 under par.
Jbe Kruger will be one of those chasing this total as a late entry into the tournament.