The last time the Sunshine Tour visited Humewood Golf Club was back in 2010 and Ulrich van den Berg lifted a Vodacom Business series trophy. The legendary links was called “the finest golf course in South Africa,” by Bobby Locke and it has played host to the South African Open Championship on five occasions.
For Van den Berg the rich history of the course and the memories of winning there in 2010 will play a big factor in his bid for the inaugural Sun Boardwalk Golf Challenge this week.
“I’ve had lot of success here at Humewood over the years, dating back to my junior and amateur golf and through to being a professional. It’s one our famous old courses and it’s just an honour to play here,” he said.
The R600,000 tournament begins on Thursday with 132 Sunshine Tour professionals competing over 54 holes of stroke play. It will be three days of true links golf set to the backdrop of Algoa Bay, and if the coastal winds blow it will test every shot in Van den Berg’s arsenal.
But the seven-time Sunshine Tour winner has come back to South Africa after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last week, where he got the chance to compete at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and The Old Course at St. Andrews.
It’s a little different in Scotland and you have to adapt to the cold and wet conditions. But what magic courses – true links that are manicured to perfection. Humewood is one of the most fantastic places to play golf in South Africa and ranks up really close to those courses.
The Sunninghill local didn’t make the 54-hole cut last week, but he certainly didn’t play badly. On day one he played The Old Course in one-under-par 71 and then shot one-over-par 73 at Carnoustie the following day. A Saturday 75 at Kingsbarns was his undoing, but it was a solid tournament regardless.
This week Van den Berg is back on local shores and he’ll compete at a links course that holds a special place in his heart. He won the 1997 South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the 2010 Vodacom Business tournament at Humewood, but it’s the magnificence of the course that really inspires him.
“It’s a really good test of golf and a pleasure to play. I think there’s wind predicted for the week and that will determine how the scoring goes,” he said.