The Lion of Africa Cape Town Open marks the beginning of the lucrative 72-hole events of the summer and now, more than ever, is the time for Van Tonder to make an international name for himself.
“It looks like the wind will blow this week, so it’ll separate the boys from the men. I like the bad weather, because it sorts out who can play and not,” he said.
Earlier this year the 23-year-old shared second place at the Tshwane Open and that result marked the beginning of a great year for him. In 2014 he recorded 16 top-10s and two wins, missed just one cut and led the Order of Merit, all of which secured him as the next superstar from the rainbow nation.
The big stage awaits Van Tonder, who faces up against the likes of George Coetzee, Branden Grace and Thomas Aiken at Royal Cape this week.
“I won’t necessarily compare myself to guys like Grace and Coetzee,” Van Tonder said. “They’ve been playing overseas and have used the chances they’ve got. Their game and mine are not too different, they’ve just got better opportunities overseas.”
From the Mother City he heads to the North West Province for the Nedbank Golf Challenge. His unorthodox style will be exciting to watch at ‘Africa’s Major,’ but the underlying point is that he’s played his way into one of the most elite fields in world golf.
“I’m quite stoked to be in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. I’ve heard of it for so many years and watched it often. It will be my first time playing it and I’m sure that will be fun. From my first year on tour I gave myself five years to get into the field and I’ve made it in the third, so I’m happy,” he said.
The year could not have gone much better for Van Tonder, but he retains that perpetual desire to win. This week in Cape Town is no different.
“This year I’ve had 16 top-10s and two wins, but I’d like to get some more. That would be quite nice,” he said.