Stone leads probable 6 SA players in NGCLed by Brandon Stone, the highest-ranked local player currently on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, South Africa should have six players in the Nedbank Golf Challenge which tees off at Sun City on November 8. The second-richest tournament on the European Tour outside of the majors and World Golf Championships events has a field of a maximum of 72 players, and, as long as they stay inside the top 64 on the Race to Dubai, Stone will be joined by Dylan Frittelli, Erik van Rooyen, Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester. Defending champion Branden Grace will also be there, as is customary, as will George Coetzee who makes it into the field as winner of the last season’s Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. Of those players, Burmester’s position is most under threat with just four tournaments of the regular schedule of the European Tour season left ahead of the final three events which climax in the DP World Tour Championship the week after the Nedbank Golf Challenge. He’s currently ranked 56th, and needs to remain inside the top 64 to be absolutely certain of a tee-time at Gary Player Country Club in the tournament South African fans revere as ‘Africa’s Major.’ Stone is 15th, Frittelli 33rd, Van Rooyen 34th and Oosthuizen 38th, so their spots are pretty certain. The criteria for entry to the Nedbank Golf Challenge refer to the ‘leading available 64 players’ on the Race to Dubai at the conclusion of the Turkish Airlines Open the week before the South African tournament. That gives Burmester a little breathing room, as there will almost certainly be some players who will elect not to make the journey to South Africa. That choice will be made either as a decision to not push all the way through to the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, or as a strategic one to rest up ahead of that event after Turkey. In the former category are likely to be players like Americans Patrick Reed, Zander Schauffele and Matt Kuchar. And, in the latter, it’s easy to see someone like newly-minted world number one Justin Rose, Spain’s John Rahm and perhaps Henrik Stenson. If those six players, or any others, do withdraw, and given that Grace and Coetzee are in no matter what, there should be up to eight more spots up for grabs. And that puts three more South Africans within striking distance of making the field. Darren Fichardt is currently 74th, Trevor Immelman 75th and Richard Sterne 79th. Former Nedbank Golf Challenge champion Immelman is unlikely to be able to better his position, as he has limited starts in Europe, and, unless he gets in to something more than the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, his chances of getting to Sun City are slim. The other two currently on the outside looking in would be well advised to perform well in Portugal this week, the Alfred Dunhill Links, the Sky Sports British Master and the Andalucia Valderrama Masters. That would push them up the list and possibly inside the top 64 where they would be perfectly safe. But, for now, South African fans know which of the locals they will see in action – and it promises to be a heck of a week.  
Auto Draft 86Lewellyn Buys, an aspiring golf player from Worcester says he learnt a lot from the coaching clinic which was organised by Vodacom Origins of Golf in partnership with the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) at Arabella Country Club on the 13th September. “This coaching clinic really helped me to take my game to the upper level,” the 17-year-old said. “I couldn’t putt well, but now I know how to work on it. It was very good. Now I am very confident to win the next Junior Open on the 23rd of September. This gave me a boost to do the best in my career.” Buys was one of 20 children between the ages of eight and 17 from the Boland region who got an opportunity to learn the sport’s tricks from golf professionals such as Kevin and Brandon Stone, Jacquin Hess and others. “My dream is to play alongside Tiger Woods one day. I see my future in golf. My father works at Riverside Golf Club. He is a caddie master. So, the long and short of it, that is how I gained an interest in playing golf. I have a love for the sport.” Shaun Adriaanse from SAGDB Boland Region said the coaching clinic was an eye-opener for the children. “The clinic helped them with the basics such as how to putt, how to chip and all that type of stuff,” he said. “Hearing that from professionals is going to have an effect on their game. SAGDB creates a lot of opportunities for them to play tournaments. It is not every day that they get this type of coaching clinic.” Adriaanse said SAGDB has produced a number of players who now play at the top level. “Our top players couldn’t make it here today, because of school examinations. Here we have players who play a lot of Boland junior tournaments. They also play in the SAGDB Schools League which we formed for them. So, they do play a lot of golf. We have about 15 junior tournaments which they play during the year. For our top players, we have about 40 tournaments that they play, with the Boland Open as well, and some of them play national tournaments,” he added. Adriaanse said they are moving in the right direction to nurture talent for the children. “These are all beginner players and they never touched a golf club before they came to us. We show them all the basics of the game and from there we take them to junior tournaments to qualify for the provincial team. This year alone, we had about 10 players who have made it into the provincial team.  We created an opportunity for Adam Willemse who went to play in Scotland during the June school holidays. These kinds of opportunities that we create for players are awesome.” Hess, the Sunshine Tour player, always makes himself available for sharing his skills whenever there is a coaching clinic. “It is very important for me to continue taking part in the coaching clinics. I was with SAGDB in 2008. I was the best player in the SAGDB in the country,” the 27-year-old said. “I remember being here for the Nelson Mandela Invitational when Gary Player was here doing the clinic for the kids. I was part of those kids. Obviously, back then I did not want to turn pro, but I learnt a lot from Mr Player. “I want to continue helping others as well. That is very important to me. I think it is going to make a massive difference in the children’s lives. The children were so good. We did not have to do a lot of work with them. It is just small fine tuning. I think having Brandon and Kevin Stone as part of the clinic, was massive. Children were taking some photos and getting autographs from them. I spoke to Brandon afterwards and he said it is important for him as well to do the coaching. It is going to encourage children to have some good discipline and develop some good values in life. They will become great people. For me it is about developing a great person,” he said. The coaching clinic was conducted a day before the start of the third of six Vodacom Origins of Golf tournaments on the Sunshine Tour schedule. The series is this year in its 15th season.  
Schietekat claims Vodacom title at ArabellaA final round 68 handed Neil Schietekat his second win of the season and his maiden Vodacom Origins of Golf title when he defeated Louis de Jager by one shot at Arabella Country Club on Sunday. His first came at Sun City over two months ago and after a series of solid results in the tournaments preceding this week’s event in Kleinmond, he finally added a third trophy to his cabinet after signing for a total of 11-under-par 205. “That one came from nowhere,” he admitted, “I didn’t know if I was actually playing good enough to win and then, obviously, the eagle on 13 and I saw I was a couple ahead. I kind of said to myself ‘don’t stuff it up, let them (chasing players) try to make the birdies.’ It was quite surprising but I will take it” In a bogey-free final round, Schietekat made birdies on the second and ninth holes as he turned in 34 and then three pars followed from 10 through 12 before he made that eagle. “It was a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway,” he said about that eagle. “I had about 245 and I hit rescue straight at it and it went just over the green but I putted it and it was about 15-20 foot, and it went in” With De Jager and Jaco Ahlers, the overnight leaders who were ahead of him by two shots, playing solidly themselves, Schietekat admits he didn’t have any number in his mind coming into Sunday. “I actually didn’t have any score in mind,” he revealed, “the whole week I kind of struggled with my game, just kind of kept it in play. We weren’t hitting a lot of drivers. We just kept hitting it on the fairway and the putter was very quiet.” De Jager finished on 10-under-par while Jake Roos and Trevor Fisher shared the third spot on nine-under. Jacques Blaauw continued his good run with yet another top-10 finish as he and Ahlers took up the fifth position while veteran Jean Hugo, Peter Moolman and Zimbabwe’s Marc Cayeux shared the seventh position. Peter Karmis, along with Brandon Stone who was making his first start of the season on the Sunshine Tour, make up the top-10.  
De Jager, Ahlers take control at ArabellaLouis de Jager navigated the Arabella Country Club layout expertly on Saturday to sign for five-under-par 67 to total nine-under-par on his way to a share of the lead with Jaco Ahlers ahead of the final round in Kleinmond. Teeing off early when the weather wasn’t too friendly at Arabella, De Jager, and indeed most of those who teed off in the morning knew the challenge that they were confronted with. “I am very happy,” said De Jager who has not missed a cut this season. “If you had told me five-under today at the start of the day, I would have taken it with a smile. It got tough this morning, but it turned out to be a lovely day out here. Our back nine was lovely.” He opened his round with a birdie on a par-four first hole, then he picked up a par on the second before making another birdie on the third. Four pars later, he made his first bogey of the round but swiftly recovered on the ninth, making a birdie there. He took a par at the turn before making gains on the 11th and the 13th. Those were immediately threatened by the bogey he made on 14, however, birdies on the 16th and the last hole meant a 67 was secured and an opportunity for a win in the final round, a possibility. De Jager admitted that he did not expect such a score when he teed off at the Peter Matkovich-designed course. “I did not think the score was out there. I hit the ball very well and I am putting pretty well this week. So, I am very pleased,” he said. Ahlers said, after the injury that sidelined him for a while, he was pleased to return and play the way he currently is and while he was not entirely happy with his showing at Selborne Park a fortnight ago, he was pleased to see the work he’s been doing in the intervening period paying dividends. “I’ve been off through injury and I came back and played Selborne some 10 days ago, it wasn’t great,” he said, “but, I put a bit of work in and it’s nice to see it coming off, you know. I hit the ball nicely for two days and I’ve got new irons in the bag and they just fit straightaway, you know. I’m really chuffed.” While Ahlers is on the hunt for his eighth Sunshine Tour title, De Jager, whose last win came at the Nedbank Affinity Cup back in 2014, would be happier to end a winless run that has lasted four years. Trailing by 1 on eight-under,  Trevor Fisher carded a second flawless 68 to take the second spot while Neil Schietekat is two-shots shy of the leaders with the Zimbabwean Marc Cayeux behind the leaders by three.
Dayne Moore in six-man tie for the lead at ArabellaZambia’s Dayne Moore admitted that he surprised himself when he carded a 4-under-par 68 opening round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella Country Estate to co-lead with six other players on Friday. “Unexpected,” he said, “very unexpected, especially here in the wind. I just played and I didn’t expect anything because I’m not used to playing in the wind like this so I’m obviously very happy with that round.” The Zambian credits improved course-management and a level-head for his solid round – which consisted of five birdies, an eagle and a double drop – on the testing Peter Matkovic-layout to sign for his second sub-70 round this season. “Look, I just tried to maintain it, you know? I didn’t go out there chasing after everything. And, I knew that the driver is probably the weakest club in my bag, so I just hit two-iron almost everywhere and I made some good putts,” Moore said. He shares the top spot with Zimbabwe’s Marc Cayeux, Ockie Strydom, Louis de Jager, Jaco Ahlers, Trevor Fisher Jr and member of the Gary Player Class, Heinrich Bruiners. Cayeux’s round was characterised by a solid back nine in which he made five birdies with dropped shots while his front nine, by his own admission, was poor. “It was quite a struggle on the front nine,” Cayeux reflected after his round, “I just stayed patient. I turned level-par and I thought ‘you know, this is the nine you can try and score in, especially with the wind dying down a bit’, which it did and I grinded it out and shot 32 on the back nine.” Strydom, who seemed to make every putt he looked at last season, revealed that a return to his old Scotty Cameron putter is the reason for his resurgent form. It was with the same putter that he shot a final round 64 at Selborne Park two weeks ago. “I just went back to my old Scotty from last year,” he said. “Last year my putter was hot. If I looked at a hole, that ball went in, so I just thought I should go back to the old putter at Selborne and I have kept it since.” Jacques Blaauw, Pieter Moolman, Neil Schietekat and Jean Hugo share the eighth spot on three-under 69 while Ruan de Smidt takes up 12thon two-under-par.
Stone bemoans 'diabolical' putting at ArabellaKevin Stone made his first start on the Sunshine Tour after a long period of absence and despite shooting an opening round of nine-over-par 81 at the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella Country Club, he was still pleased with his iron-play on Friday. Starting off in the morning when the weather was not as kind, and with the wind and showers of rain conspiring to make life difficult for any golfer, Stone had his work cut out for him and as a result, only a lonesome birdie made it onto his card. “It was a very strange day,” said Stone immediately after his round, “I played pretty neat but I hit my all-time record of 41 putts for 18 holes, which is, to be honest, 12 putts more than what you should have. But, I hit my irons pretty well and I think I only missed three greens the whole day. There were good signs and bad signs. I’m not thrilled but it could’ve been worse.” Indeed, it could have been much worse for the veteran because while he showed glimpses of his younger self with the driver and the irons, it was on the greens where the real struggle was. He turned in 41 and while making his only birdie on the 15th, his struggle continued so that he signs for 81. “I drove the ball pretty well,” he noted, “I think I missed three or four fairways in that wind, which is pretty good, but the putting was, to be nice, diabolical.” With the weather conditions not making things easy in Kleinmond, an experienced campaigner like Stone, struggling as he was, isn’t one to be fazed easily. “It’s a mission here,” Stone said, “there’s a lot of holes where you just hit irons and others you will have to hit driver. It’s difficult because a lot of the time the wind blows to you from off the sides, and especially if the wind blows into your left, it’s a tough tee shot if you’re a right-handed golfer. You really need to know the golf course when you’re playing in these conditions, it always helps. I think the scores should be pretty decent.” Whatever his results in Kleinmond this week, Stone, whose son Brandon, opened with a 71 at Arabella, will go into next month’s SA Senior Open in Plettenberg Bay with a clear indication of where his game is at and where he must improve.
Horne looks to last season’s recipe at ArabellaKeith Horne is planning to use last year’s winning game plan when he tees up to defend his title at the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella County Club on Friday. “I think I will stick to my recipe from last year,” he said about his game plan for this week. “This is a golf course that suits my game. It is a course with plenty birdies but is also there are a lot of dangerous holes out there. You just need to be a bit patient at times. In general, it is a golf course that I would play well hence I am looking forward to it,” The nine-time Sunshine Tour winner has got all it takes to navigate the windy conditions at the Peter Matkovic-designed golf course in Kleinmond. “It is always exciting to come back to defend a title. I am looking forward to the week. The course is looking fantastic. I am not sure what we are in for weather-wise this week. I am sure we are expecting a bit of rain, but in general, I am just looking forward to the week,” The Eye of Africa player finished six-under-par 210 after rounds of 69, 69 and 72 at last year’s event and a repeat of that, given that he has not been playing a lot of golf lately, would be a welcome exercise. “My game is still a bit rusty, I must say. My swing’s a little bit weird. I am hoping this week it will kick in,” he admitted. At the age of 47 and a true veteran of the game, Horne still has everything it takes to claim his fifth Vodacom title, having won his first title in this 15-year-old series back in 1998. Apart from the four titles he’s won in the Vodacom series, Horne also has three runner-up finishes. In the five events he’s played this season, Horne has missed the cut once, at the Lombard Insurance Classic, shared fifth at Zanaco Masters, tied 12th at the Sun City Challenge, came fifth at the Royal Swazi Spa Challenge and finished T35th at the Sun Carnival City Challenge.    
Stone quietly confident in ArabellaBrandon Stone is making his first start on the Sunshine Tour this season and while he admits to being a little rusty after a lengthy break, he maintains that the confidence to produce the goods at Arabella Country Club remains high. He last played competitive golf at last month’s US PGA Championship where he came in in a share of 12th after rounds of 66, 68, 70 and a closing 68. “I’ve been sitting on the couch for over three weeks, so yesterday was my second round of golf since the PGA Championship,” said Stone from Kleinmond where he is teeing it up along his father, Kevin, in the Vodacom Origins of Golf. “I’m very rusty but today (in the pro-am) was much better so I am looking to build on that,” he noted, “it was nice to get a few good shots running around the golf course and managed to hole a few putts today that I wasn’t able to yesterday. So, I’m very comfortable with where I am, confidence is still nice and high which is very good after a break. So, let’s see tomorrow afternoon what the first round has given me.” Coming to this third event of the Vodacom Origins of Golf this season at the back of some solid results in Europe where he hasn’t missed a cut in his last five starts, and despite the break he took after the PGA Championship, Stone is always a genuine threat in any tournament he plays. He is well aware of how much bite this golf course can dish out, especially when the gusting winds begin to pick up. “You have to take it hole-by-hole here,” he said, “the wind makes it extremely tricky out there especially with the gust and a little bit of swirling. It’s quite amazing; you play this hole and there’s no breeze and then the next hole it’s a 40-50 km/h gust. You just try to keep it on the fairway, I know it’s cliché, but you just have to try and keep it in play.” And, that he is still searching for his maiden Vodacom title makes this event special for the reigning Scottish Open, but more special is being in the same field as his father, the 10-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, Kevin. “It’s quite special to have my dad in the event,” admitted Stone, “we’ve had a lot of fun in the last two days in the pro-am and hopefully we can emulate some of the success we had there in the tournament week.” He admits, however, that he doesn’t get any sleepless nights over the fact that Kevin remains the only Stone to win in this 15-year-old series, but rather, it is just a useful tool for repartee every now and again.  
De Jager staying positive despite 4-year winless runLouis de Jager who is among the 120 professionals teeing it up at this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella Country Club says his current form is down to some hard work this season and hopes it all translates to a win at Arabella. De Jager missed the cut last year in this event but returning to Kleinmond while having a solid season is cause for optimism. “I have been working hard on my golf swing and I am hitting the ball nicely,” he reveals. “I am staying more positive mentally and my short game has improved a lot. My putting has helped me a lot to achieve the results season so I’m looking forward to it.” He has not missed a cut in 12 starts this season as he looks for a fourth career win on the Sunshine Tour. He came close to winning at Sun City Challenge but lost by one stroke to Neil Schietekat who won it on a score of six-under-par 210. De Jager also came close at the Sun Royal Spa Swazi Challenge where he finished T3. “I am looking forward to set-up a new game plan and see how I can approach the course differently,” De Jager said about this week’s event. “I am playing two Pro-Ams now. I am also looking to find a nice game plan for the year in this week’s event,” The 2014 Vodacom Origins of Golf Wild Coast winner might not have had the results he desires in Kleinmond, but he likes the course and believes that he can pull off something special here. “It is a very nice layout and the scenery is very nice. It is a nice spot in the country. It is always a treat to come and play Arabella,” he said. He came 10th in the Sun Wild Coast Challenge – a windy coastal layout almost similar to Arabella – and will hope the weather is kind enough this week at Arabella.
Vodacom Origins of Golf Arabella: What’s whatThe Vodacom Origins of Golf goes back to Arabella Country Club this week for the third event in the six-tournament series. The tournament tees off from Friday, September 14th to Sunday, September 16th and boasts a prize fund of R800 000. There are four former winners of this title in the field in Vaughn Groenewald – recent winner at Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge – who won the title in 2016 and 11-time Origins of Golf winner, Jean Hugo who won in 2014, Chris Swanepoel who won here in 2011 and last season’s winner, Keith Horne. The series is in its 15th season and has produced over 50 different champions along the way. The format: The tournament is 54 holes of Stroke Play. After 36 holes there will be a cut to the leading 40 professionals and ties. The field: 120 professionals. Defending champion: Keith Horne is the defending champion. He won last season’s tournament by three strokes on a total of six-under-par 210. The course: The Arabella Estate is home to one of the top-ranked golf courses in South Africa, with pristine grass, tricky sand traps and challenging water hazards.  Designed by Peter Matkovich, the golf course has been enjoyed by celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson and professional golfers like Ernie Els and Gary Player. The 18-hole, Par 72 Championship course has consistently been ranked in the top 10 courses in South Africa. The 8th hole has been described as one of the most beautiful par 5′s in South Africa and the 18th hole was rated one of the finest finishing holes in the country. The course, which is located about one hour away from Cape Town, near the coastal town of Hermanus, also offers a fully stocked pro shop, warm-up range, putting and chipping green, halfway house and golf club bar, as well as secure lockers rooms and showers, golf carts and golfing clinics and coaching by the club professional. Form player: Jacques Blaauw said he was back on the Sunshine Tour for the remainder of the season for one reason, and that is to improve his Order of Merit standing so he can keep his card for next season. His results so far – a share of 10th at the Wild Coast Sun Challenge and a runner-up finish at Vodacom Origins of Golf at Selborne Park – have been indicative of a man on a mission. In the combined six rounds of golf that he has played so far, Blaauw has only shot one round in the 70s when he signed for a 73 in round two of that Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Selborne where he, Garth Mulroy and Neil Schietekat came second to Peter Karmis. Lying 56th on the Order of Merit after only two starts, Blaauw knows that a few solid finishes in the coming events will see him well inside the top 50, but he must first produce the goods at Arabella this week. Having gotten back-to-back solid results in coastal layouts should be motivational going to the windy Kleinmond but a seasoned professional and an experienced traveller, Blaauw should be able to do well this week. Sentimental pick: After failing to qualify at the Investec Royal Swazi Open which was followed by a string of four missed cuts, Wynand Dingle managed to pick up the pieces and has since been solid. His last three starts on coastal events have been something to marvel at.  Last season here, Dingle flirted with victory, only to finish 6th at the end of it all. While he has not won on the main Tour since claiming the Big Easy Tour Houghton event last season, Dingle has proven he can play on coastal and his share of 15th at Wild Coast three weeks ago and the ninth he got at in Selborne two weeks ago stand as testimony. With such performances, it will not be a surprise to see Dingle claiming his maiden Sunshine Tour win. The bolter: Having come through qualifying school where he came 19th, Victor Lange has gone on unnoticed, except when he shoots scores of 66 and 68 to throw himself in the mix like he did at Wild Coast over three weeks ago. He went on to finish 47th after a final 73. At Zebula, too, he shot a final-round 73 which was preceded by first and second rounds of 70 and 69 to finish 13th. In the two events at which he missed the cut, Roya Swazi Spa Challenge and Sun Carnival City Challenge, he failed to sign for a score below 70. In the other four events – where he has made the cut– Lange has shot 69 at least once in each of those tournaments, with his lowest round so far being the first-round 66 at Wild Coast. He has proven he can shoot low scores when the game allows for it and with a little bit of consistency on his part, Lange certainly does have the ability to surprise a few.          
No pressure for MJ at ArabellaMJ Viljoen might feel that his game is not currently on the level he wants, but like the surprise win he pulled off at the windy Sun Fish River Challenge last season, he is determined to make the most of the similar conditions when he tees it up at this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella Country Club. “I have been working on a couple of different things over the last couple of months,” he said.  “The game is not really where it is supposed to be, but I am managing to make the cut here and there. I am kind of preparing myself for Europe; preparing myself to go there.” Viljoen missed six cuts out of 12 starts this season, but he seems to have located the area of his struggles and is confident in his process. “I am just trying to get the head right and to get all the mental stuff in place before focusing on the playing itself again,” he said just after announcing his intentions to go to the European Tour qualifying school later on in the season. “Well, from playing on the co-sanctioned events for the first time and now playing in all of them, really opened my eyes,” he said of what he expects in Europe, “and, it kind of taught me that you have to have a tough head to make it out there. I think the head game between the ears is kind of important to me now and getting everything in place before going to the big league,” Indeed, the 23-year-old has learned a few things in the co-sanctioned events, having finished T30 at Joburg Open, 65th at the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni while missing the cut at the Tshwane Open. He would want to continue building on that experience. After his maiden win at Fish River last year Viljoen is not feeling pressure, however, to add more wins to his name. “Actually, I don’t,” he said, “I feel I am at a good place now. I am sure if everything comes together in the next couple of weeks before I go, if I can pull one off, that would be nice, actually.” One of his main goals for the season is an improved finish on the Order of Merit. “I do not really have a target for the Order of Merit, but it would be nice to beat myself from last year, get a top 20 or something. I hope to open some new doors going forward.” Viljoen, like the 100 plus players in the field at Arabella this week, knows the real work will begin on Friday when the first group tees off and whatever his ambitions are, a solid finish in Kleinmond will be the only thing which matters come Sunday.  
1The extent to which this season’s Vodacom Origins of Golf series is special isn’t only underpinned by the celebration of the 15-year partnership between the Tour and Vodacom, but it’s appreciated more for the legacy it continues to create. While names like Jean Hugo will forever be etched in memory for the number of these titles he has won over the seasons, and while players like Thomas Aiken are remembered as among the very first to claim three of these titles in one season, there’s more history being made. Players like Heinrich Bruiners who is a member of the Gary Player Class, Hennie du Plessis, Zander Lombard, Madalitso Muthiya, Jaco Prinsloo and Jared Harvey, among others, won their first-ever Sunshine Tour titles in this series. To illustrate this is the fact that there has been a first-time winner in all 15 seasons of this series. As a result, over 50 different players have been crowned champions along the way. Now, going into the third event in this season’s series which will be held at Arabella Country Club, there’s every reason to be optimistic that a new history will be written. Defending champion, Keith Horne, if he wins, will become the first player to defend this title in Kleinmond. Jean Hugo, the 11-time winner in the series and with the most wins by far, is unpredictable but one certainty is that he has everything it takes to make it 12 Vodacom titles this week. He won here in 2014 and he will want to regain winning form soonest as the co-sanctioned tournaments lie on the horizon. Chris Swanepoel, another player to have won this event at Arabella, knows it’s been a while since his win and will want to change that this week, and what better place to do so at a place where he has enjoyed success before. It will be Vaughn Groenewald, however, who will be among those to watch. The six-time Sunshine Tour winner won here in 2016 and while that may mean very little as many other players have won before, but here’s an interesting one: Groenewald’s last three victories came in from coastal golf courses – Sun Wild Coast in 2015, Vodacom Origins of Golf Arabella in 2016 and Sun Wild Coast Challenge in 2018 – and by his own admission, he’s just a different player altogether in such weather conditions. “I have a pretty a low ball flight,” he notes, “but that doesn’t mean I can’t hit it high, I just prefer it this way. So, with the wind in the coastal areas, I’m a different player. I like it” Add that up with the fact that he just loves the layout there, and then you have a serious competition in your hands. “I love the whole place,” Groenewald admits ahead of this week’s tournament, “the course is stunning. I love the par-five second hole, for me, it’s a risk and reward hole. It’s a beautiful driving hole. I also the love eighth, also a par-five, coming down the hill, and I always try to avoid the water there.” With such memories and a solid game to match, Groenewald will also hope to make history with another win but in a field as strong as the field assembled at Arabella this week and with the coastal weather conditions expected to play a huge role too, every player will have their work cut out for them for victory to be theirs.  

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