The Vodacom Origins of Golf series on the local Sunshine Tour and the US Open may be worlds apart, but the former holds a special place in the careers of South Africa’s young professionals who will be on Major duty this month.
The six-tournament Vodacom Origins of Golf series tees off at the Simola Golf Estate on Wednesday as the single biggest series of tournaments on the Sunshine Tour. It offers combined prizemoney of R3.6 million.
Since 2004 it has been a constant feature amongst the rising stars of South African golf, including Thomas Aiken, George Coetzee, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Jaco van Zyl, who will be amongst the South Africans hunting US Open glory next week.
Aiken made his professional breakthrough with three wins on this series in 2004. Oosthuizen also claimed his maiden professional triumph on this series in 2004. Both Van Zyl and Coetzee have won twice on the series, and Grace was a winner on the series as recently as 2012.
It’s with this in mind that most of the Sunshine Tour professionals will tee it up at Simola this week in the hope that it could be the platform to future international success.
Jean Hugo won this tournament when it was played at Simola in 2011. He remains one of the most successful golfers in the history of this series with seven titles to his name, but is still hoping to translate this success into victories in the major tournaments.
“I think the beauty of this series is that we play the top golf courses in South Africa, and as a professional you can’t ask for more than that,” says Hugo.