One year ago Teboho Sefatsa was a Sunshine Tour journeyman yet to take a win. This week he’s the defending champion at the BMG Classic and faces very different challenges, but an annum in the winners’ circle has taught him what to expect.
“Once you win it takes away a lot of pressure, but you also place expectations on yourself once you’ve won a tournament. I’ve been trying to peak at the right time, and hopefully this week is the start of a good end of season for me,” he said.
For nine years the 30-year-old from Germiston was a popular figure on the Sunshine Tour who travelled to tournaments across Southern Africa in his 14-year-old red Jetta. Nowadays his golf shirts boast a Volkswagen logo, one condition of the sponsorship deals he signed after his maiden win at the 2012 BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club, which is his home course.
“It’s been different this year, especially because I can choose to play nearly any tournament. I’ve been working hard on my game in the past few months and hopefully this week it pays off, but I’m also trying not to think about it too much,” he said.
Sefatsa has enjoyed a full year’s exemption to Sunshine Tour events, but adjusting his goals took some time. This season he tied for 11th at both the Telkom PGA Pro-Am and the Platinum Classic, but other than that it’s been a quiet road.
Home-ground advantage factored into Sefatsa’s maiden victory last year and he’s hoping to spark another flame this week. While the Ernie Els Foundation graduate certainly faces stiff competition, his route into the big summer events could not be clearer.
“The course does not favour the big-hitter or the deft short -game player. You need to bring an all-round game, and you need to play the course gracefully. As you work your way around the course, you'll find it tests your character, because it is challenging. It asks you questions all the time. It’s just that kind of course,” he said.
His local knowledge will be crucial this week and again in a month’s time when Glendower hosts the South African Open Championship from November 21-24.
“I can guarantee you that every player who tees it up in the BMG Classic this year will have the SA Open at the back of his mind,” the 2012 Big Easy Tour Order of Merit winner said. “Whatever you can learn here, you can use during the SA Open.”