Ulrich van den Berg converted his 10th top-10 finish of the Sunshine Tour season into a win last week, and he’s hoping that he can keep that form going into the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open which tees off at Royal Cape Golf Club on Thursday.
Van den Berg, 38, took his seventh title on the Sunshine Tour when he beat 2011 South African Open champion Hennie Otto in the BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club and climbed to 22nd on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit to move within one good performance of the top 10, where Cape Town Open defending champion Jake Roos is in 10th.
Van den Berg is confident but he knows that golf can be a cruel mistress. “You never know with golf. Last week was last week, but the win does give me confidence,” he said, “but you’ve still got to tee it up and make it happen again in the new week.
“The win at Glendower has come and gone, but that does bode well for a good summer,” he added.
And in his favour is the classic 6,260-metre layout of the oldest golf club in the country, especially after he won on another such course at Glendower: “To win at Glendower which is one of my favourite courses was great,” he said. “Royal Cape is one of those courses where you have to hit the ball well; it’s a golf course that will hurt and penalise the player who misses the fairway, and that’s all you ask of a tournament course.
“I think it’s going to be a great event on one of the grand old courses of South Africa, and it’s great to be back in the Cape again.
“We used to have the Players’ Championship here when I was at the start of my career. I had some good results, but never quite closed the deal here. But it was always nice to come here. Last year, I played steadily, but for two holes that cost me quite dearly,” he said of his share of 19th last year when a triple-bogey seven on the ninth in the third round put the skids under his challenge.
“My game’s all together at the moment,” he said, “so I’ve just got to keep going. I can never take form for granted. I’ve got to keep working hard and put last week out of my mind – but I can draw on the good points of last week and the confidence I gained from that.”