Value of building depth proved by amateurs

Amateur Conway Kunneke won a share of 25th in the eighth event on Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage at Houghton Golf Club on Wednesday.

Kunneke became the third amateur golfer to record a top-30 finish and followed Sunshine Big Easy Tour cameos from fellow amateurs Shaun Smith and Drikus Bruyns, the trio all coming through the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation.

Kunneke’s first round proved the depth of talent in development golf when he shot level-par for the round and finished tied for eighth at the close of day one. “I thought this was going to be a really good test, you know, to put yourself against the other guys,” said Kunneke.

On day two he struggled on the notoriously difficult greens of Houghton and carded 77 for his second round to close the tournament at five-over-par. “You see how much work you need to put in to get there,” said Kunneke of playing professional golf.

Kunneke finished tied for 25th, impressive as 45 professionals finished below him on the leaderboard. He thus continued the trend of top-30 finishes from visiting amateurs.

The first amateur to receive an invite was Smith, who shot a tournament score of three-over to claim a share of 18th at the Glendower event. “You have to realise it’s just another round of golf, you just try and do your best,” said Smith.

And Bruyns, the second amateur invited to play, took a share of 20th at Maccauvlei Golf Club last week with his tournament score of level-par.

Kunneke underlined the point with his share of 25th on Wednesday, and alongside Smith and Bruyns shows the depth of talent in South Africa and the value in developing it.

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