Like most Sunshine Tour Players, Neil Schietekat is thrilled to be getting back into action after a seven-week break as the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club gets underway on Thursday.
The R700,000 54-hole event is the first in a series that is one of the longest-running on the Sunshine Tour, and the 108-man field tees off on a course that is shaking off the effects of heavy winter rains over the past few days.
“It’s always nice coming back after a long break,” said Schietekat, “especially to the Wild Coast. You never know what you’re going to get from the weather here, but according to the forecasts for the tournament, it is going to blow a bit, so I am looking forward to it. It’s a fun course, and I’ve had good results here in the past.”
Schietekat has had a slow first half of the year, but he managed a share of eighth in the KCM Zambia Open in June before the break. A good performance in the wind on familiar territory would help him get closer to the career-high 11th spot in which he finished on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit in 2011.
Like everyone else, Schietekat has been working hard on his game during the break. “I’ve been back in the gym a bit,” he said. “I’ve been working very hard on the game itself because I haven’t got off to a good start this year and I need to catch a wake-up in the next couple of months.
“My putter has been letting me down, so I’ve been working hard on that and it’s definitely starting to show some good signs. And the gym work might not help my putting, it will certainly help my longevity,” he laughed.
In the corresponding tournament last year, which was held at San Lameer just a little north of the Wild Coast, Schietekat finished in a share of 12th behind a perennial winner in the series, Jean Hugo.