He missed the cuts in his last two events at Humewood Golf Club, but Vaughn Groenewald has since changed much about his swing and is very much in contention for the R700,000 Sun Boardwalk Challenge which gets underway on the grand old links course on Wednesday.
In 2010, he missed the final round when Ulrich van den Berg won a tournament there, and in last year’s inaugural Sun Boardwalk Challenge, he carded an opening 78 in horrendous conditions and wasn’t able to play the final round of the event which was shortened to 36 holes and won by Titch Moore.
But the man who has moved from Ermelo to George, where he plays out of Kingswood Golf Estate, has subsequently won twice on the Sunshine Tour this year – in the Zambia Sugar Open and the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge – and he attributes those victories in great part to working on his ball flight so he plays a little fade now instead of a big, booming draw.
“It’s easier for me to control now,” said Groenewald ahead of the Humewood tournament. “I’ve decided, after also missing last week’s cut at St Francis Links, to just go back to playing the game simply. At St Francis, three holes cost me 10 shots, and that was a result of just trying too much.”
While Groenewald was pipped at the post by Dean Burmester to become the first player to win three Sunshine Tour titles this year after the Bloemfonteiner won in his home town at the Sun Windmill Challenge, he actually has his sights set higher.
“The changes I made were instrumental in my win in Zambia,” he said, “and when I won on the Wild Coast, I decided then that my goal for the year was to win four tournaments.”
There’s been a little inconsistency in his play since that second title – two missed cuts, a share of 12th and a share of 27th in four tournaments – but he’s determined to get his show back on the road this week.
It took him over eight years between his second victory and his third in a Sunshine Tour career that spans over 20 year, and he’s hoping that it will be just over eight weeks between his second of 2015 and his third.