PGA professional Kevin Stone is relishing the chance to challenge for a cut of the R3,750,000 purse on offer at the Telkom PGA Championship on Sunday.
The 46-year-old veteran will join the action at Country Club Johannesburg this weekend after surviving the cut, set at one-under-par 143, alongside fellow PGA pro Michael du Toit.
Stone shot rounds of 72-70 for a 36-hole total of two-under-par 142, while Du Toit bettered an opening 70 with a three under 69 on Friday to finish seven shots behind pacesetters Jaco van Zyl and Dylan Frittelli.
Stone, a seven-time Sunshine Tour winner, resigned from his position as the director of golf at The Els Club, Copperleaf last year to focus on his preparation for the senior circuit.
He said playing alongside the Sunshine TourÂs rising stars has his competitive juices flowing again.
ÂItÂs great to be out there again, after so many years away from the circuit,Â he said. ÂAlthough I still actively competed, I only played a couple of tournaments a year. Now IÂm trying to get back to a full-time schedule, because in a few years, I hope to compete on the senior circuit.
ÂPlaying against the youngsters is a great way of sharpening my game. They really inspire my competitive streak and IÂm thrilled to be playing this weekend.Â
Stone and Du Toit were among 12 PGA professionals that received special invitations to compete in the Sunshine Tour event through the Professional Golfers Association of South Africa (PGA of SA).
The pair are among nearly 540 qualified PGA professionals that belong to the PGA of SA, that also employ over 130 registered apprentices countrywide.
The PGA of SA also joined forces with Telkom Business to give school children an opportunity to experience golf in a fun and exciting way at the Grow Golf Zone initiative, located just next to the action at the Woodmead course.
Children from schools across Gauteng are being put through their paces by PGA professionals and several amateur golfers, who are currently studying the international PGA three-year diploma through accredited education providers. ÂThe PGA of SA are committed to growing the game of golf and long-term athlete development at all school levels,Â said PGA of SA CEO Ivano Ficalbi.
ÂThe Grow Golf initiative supports this vision and all the activities are designed to improve bodily coordination for all sports, not just golf in younger children. The exercises include strength building, elementary feel for golf using tennis balls and modified golf clubs, wrist and hand movement, as well as directional control.
ÂThrough their sponsorship, Telkom Business is providing 20 teachers from those schools attending the Grow Golf Zone, with the opportunity to be trained in the long-term athlete development programme.Â
The Grow Golf Zone has also incorporated an adult swing coaching station with PGA professionals for the first time this year.
Article: Lali Stander