14th March 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Viljoen looks forward to Serengeti after Chile trip
He’s back home in more ways than one. MJ Viljoen played a tournament in Chile last week and now he’s back at Serengeti Estates to play in this week’s Tour Championship which closes out the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour schedule.
“I am looking forward to this week. I do not know if I am prepared for it though,” the 23-year-old Viljoen said about the R1.5-million tournament. “I will probably know if I am prepared when I am done with today’s pro-am round, but I am looking forward to it.”
Viljoen ended up playing a tournament in the South American country at the invitation of Matias Calderon, who won the Eye of Africa PGA Championship. The pair have become good friends, and they flew to Chile together with Felipe Aguilar after Aguilar had finished fourth in the Tshwane Open.
Viljoen, the 2017 Sun Fish River Challenge winner, said he enjoyed it there. “It was nice to go there. I learnt a lot. The golf is much different there. It was nice to go somewhere else for a change and not play in South Africa. I struggled to get going with my ball-striking. The greens were tough to play on, to get the shots right and to get the distances right, but in general my game was okay and my short game was good. I think if I can get my ball striking going this week, things will be better.
“Everything was different. Climate was different, you know. Playing with jet-leg again is something different. At least once, going to a new golf course and just trying to make a cut was nice to do,” he added.
The trip left him wanting for more. “I would like to go there for a holiday again, not for golf, because obviously when you go for golf, you are just in a house and on a golf course. We had a couple of barbecues, but not much. So, I would like to go there for a holiday. Everybody says going there for a holiday on the coast and going on the beach is very nice,” Viljoen said.
His presence in the Tour Championship, which is open to only the top 50 players on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, is a validation for a good year. He said it is good to be back at the course which was his home for two years. “This is a spectacular course. I love the grass, the tee boxes, the greens and all the grass,” he said.
The tournament tees off on Thursday, and is 72 holes of stroke play. Of the top 50, 42 have made it into the final field, and they have started the week with a pro-am Serengeti Invitational, which winds up on Friday. The professionals will play the final two rounds alone.