With the plethora of young stars on the Sunshine Tour this season, 42-year-old Doug McGuigan is very pleased about one thing. ÂThe golf ball doesnÂt know your age,Â he says.
ItÂs that time of the season when the Sunshine TourÂs experienced professionals are fine-tuning their games for the big summer events to come while also looking with interest at the young stars coming through the ranks.
This year, the trio of Allan Versfeld, Bryce Easton and Danie van Tonder have caught the eye.
Versfeld has won on the winter leg of the Tour in the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at De Zalze. Easton has won twice, including beating McGuigan in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula. And Van Tonder is dangerously close to a victory, with finishes of second and fourth in his last two tournaments.
ÂWe need some new youngsters coming through, and all three of them are very good,Â says McGuigan, before adding that heÂs looking forward to putting the youngsters in their place in this weekÂs Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Sishen Golf Club.
But the reality is that heading into the Sishen tournament, Versfeld, Easton and Van Tonder are all supremely confident of their abilities. Especially Van Tonder.
ÂHe oozes confidence,Â McGuigan says of a player who finished second at the Sunshine TourÂs Qualifying School earlier this year, and who now believes heÂs found his feet in his rookie season and is ready to start winning.
ÂDanie plays at my home course of Ebotse, and weÂve had a few practice rounds together. What I like about him is that apart from being very strong off the tee but also good with the putter, he does things his own way. Too many young pros worry about what other people think. Danie is his own master, and thatÂs a breath of fresh air on Tour.Â
McGuigan is equally impressed with Versfeld and Easton. ÂBryce beat me in a tournament at Zebula, and he played incredible golf that week. And Allan is such a gentleman. Respect is big for him, and he shows it. All three of them have an incredible work ethic.Â
Van Tonder certainly epitomises the work ethic of the young professional. HeÂll easily play 36 holes in a day for practice, and works hard in the gym, using boxing to strengthen his upper body and keep him fit.
And yes, he has the confidence as well.
Van Tonder is making his first appearance at Sishen Golf Club this week. Asked what he thought of the golf course, he said, ÂItÂs tight. It looks like a good challenge. It can be tricky. I love it.Â
Article: Michael Vlismas