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Sunshine Tour salutes essential workers

Sunshine Tour salutes essential workers

We salute you! This is the central message carried by the Sunshine Tour and its players to all those men and women who continue to work during these difficult times when the world must deal with the COVID-19 crisis. As the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise and with the national lockdown in full swing, the unsung heroes of our nation are those who are required to roll up their sleeves and become the vanguard in our push-back against the spread of this virus. They are the doctors, nurses, soldiers, police, service providers our economies can never do without. “Thank you to the first respondents,” said Jacques Blaauw on a video posted on social media in support of the Sunshine Tour’s #ThankYouToTheEssentialWorkers social media campaign. “You are fighting this CPVID-19 pandemic on the forefront and you are all our heroes. We salute you. To the general public, please be safe, stay indoors.” Joined by his dog in his video, James Hard du Preez posted: “We just want to say thank you to all the essential workers and the health workers who are on the frontlines during this COVID-19 crisis. A massive thank you to you guys for risking your lives and keeping everything smoothly and hopefully, curing a whole bunch of views.” While the reality of the situation is dire, a huge effort from everyone, and in support of the work done by the essential workers in the medical fields and other areas, can contribute a great deal in advancing the fight and ultimately ridding our nation of this virus. “It is important that we all stay safe and stay at home,” said Thabiso Ngcobo in his message, “We can definitely flatten this curve if everyone does their part.” In an unprecedented move in South African professional golf, the Sunshine Tour announced that it will pay a monthly stipend to its member professionals, and on a scale according to their various categories of membership, for the months of April and May 2020, in a gesture of solidarity and in the spirit of taking care of its members during these difficult times.
Financial relief for players and caddies announced

Financial relief for players and caddies announced

The Sunshine Tour, in support of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for social solidarity from all South Africans in the fight against COVID-19, has announced a comprehensive financial relief programme for South African men’s and women’s professional golf. In an unprecedented move in South African professional golf, the Sunshine Tour will pay a monthly stipend to its member professionals, and on a scale according to their various categories of membership, for the months of April and May 2020. The Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA), in partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, announced a similar financial programme for the top 25 South African professionals on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. The Sunshine Tour has also committed to paying a monthly stipend for April and May 2020 to all the caddies who are registered with the South African Caddie Association (SACA) and who have been active in the 2019-2020 Sunshine Tour season. This is to assist them in meeting their financial obligations at a time when professional golf worldwide has been suspended because of COVID-19. The Sunshine Tour, in accordance with world golf, has already suspended all of its activities as of 16 March 2020. The executive and staff of the Sunshine Tour, as well as the executive of GolfRSA and the WPGA, have also agreed to a voluntary salary reduction, based on what is affordable to each staff member, for the months of April and May 2020. “As our President has stated, these are extraordinary times for our country, and they require an extraordinary response from all South Africans,” said Sunshine Tour Commissioner Selwyn Nathan. “Our Board has fully endorsed and approved this financial plan for our members, and those of the WPGA and the Sunshine Ladies Tour, as we believe wholeheartedly that this is the right course of action to support our membership base in a manner and on a level that will ensure the longevity of our Tours and help our members through these trying times. “I would like to thank GolfRSA and the WPGA for the solidarity they have shown in this regard, and also say a special thank you to all the staff of the various Tours for the financial sacrifice they are willing to make in what are clearly very difficult and uncertain times for them as well. “South African professional golf is a very close family, and as such we will stick together in times of crisis. To quote our President, ‘Our success relies on the effort and energies of every citizen and their commitment to help assist others’. As the South African golf family, we are united in making this commitment.”
The Sunshine Tour joins hands with Feed SA 2

The Sunshine Tour joins hands with Feed SA

The Sunshine Tour has joined hands with Feed SA in an effort to help the most vulnerable in our society as the whole world fights the scourge of the COVID-19 virus, commonly known as the coronavirus. The virus COVID-19 has been declared a national disaster by the president and the number of cases confirmed rises to new heights every day and the most vulnerable in our country are people with fewer resources. To play a leading role in support of those who will be hit the hardest by the lockdown initiated in response to this ever-spreading virus, The Tour and players have embarked on charity campaign called The Sunshine Tour Gives Back. The players are requested to make a short video showing how best to wash hands in this important period or a video of what they do while staying at home, using the hashtags #safehands and #stayathomechallenge, and post these on social media. Videos which receive 100 or more views from the public will be monitored and food hampers consisting of essentials required in these trying times will be donated for each of those videos. Feed SA is raising funds to help the people who will be the hardest hit by the implications of this virus including people who cannot afford to stockpile, who can barely afford month-to-month expenses, people who live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions the sick and elderly who cannot risk exposure, people who do not earn their salaries if they do not attend work, people who cannot afford childcare if their kids are home from school and people who have no access to adequate health care. Kunye means “together” in Xhosa. This word is so important now more than ever. Although we are isolated, we are 100% together in the prevention of the spread of this virus. This campaign is set to run until March 31, notwithstanding new developments around this situation.
Sunshine Tour suspends all activities: Nathan

Sunshine Tour suspends all activities: Nathan

In light of the announcement by the President and having taken the advice of the various government ministers and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the issues surrounding COVID-19, the Sunshine Tour will be suspending all of its activities as of 16 March 2020. The Sunshine Tour will review its position on 20 April or as the situation demands. This decision was taken by the Sunshine Tour Board of Directors and Players Committee, and stands in unity with the International Federation of PGA Tours and world golf’s decision to suspend its activities. Our aim is to both safeguard our members and our loyal fans, and support the President’s call for all South Africans to present a united front in taking the prescribed action to prevent the further spread of this virus. As such the Sunshine Tour has instituted an immediate international and domestic air travel ban for all of our staff. The Sunshine Tour’s Head Office will be closed throughout this period, but all communication will carry on as per normal as staff will work remotely and in designated teams. Regular communication from the Tour will still be sent to all of our members via our website, email, WhatsApp and social media, keeping them updated on what is an incredibly fluid and dynamic situation. As part of our “Return to Golf” plan, the Tour has already held discussions with all of our partners, sponsors and host venues of our upcoming African leg of tournaments on the proposed way forward and to ensure everything is in place to resume our activities as soon as the South African government provides this go-ahead and in consultation with our partners in Africa. Our immediate priority is, as a leading sports body in South Africa, to be responsible and do everything to contribute to stopping the spread of COVID-19 so that our society may return to normal as soon as possible. We thank our sponsors and partners for their support and understanding during such a unique moment in South African golf, and we also ask for the patience of our fans at this time.
Tristen triumphs in Houghton 1

Tristen triumphs in Houghton

Tristen Strydom carded a six-under-par 66 final round of the Final Stage of Qualifying School to back up his round three 62 and win the final stage on a total of 19-under-par at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday. He fought off challenges from numerous players in the final round, including PH McIntyre who settled for second place, with the duo of Luke Brown and Rupert Kaminski also not far off. “Q-school is never an easy week,” confessed Strydom after his victory which sees him lead a group of 27 players into the upcoming season. “I am pleased with this result, obviously. I felt like the experience I had here last year helped me today and I’m just very happy.” He had a steady start to the round, making pars in the first two holes before going on a three-birdie run from the third through to the fifth holes. Four more pars followed as he turned in 33. He made further gains at the turn, birdieing the 10th and 11th holes but dropped a shot on the 12th. Two more birdies followed, this time on the 15th and 17th holes to seal a perfect week in Houghton. “I feel like last season was a big learning experience for me,” he said of how he will approach the new season, “I take it in my stride, even though I felt like I failed. I learned a lot but this year, I’m just going to go for it. In, golf it’s not easy to move forward but I just want to use this year to my fullest ability and make sure I attack because I feel like last season I was too defensive” Players who earned their Sunshine Tour statuses: Tristen Strydom, PH McIntyre, Luke Brown, Rupert Kaminski, Byron Coetzee, Gideon van der Vyver, Richard Joubert, Divan van den Heever, Jason Roets, Jayden Schaper, Cameron Moralee, Richie O’Donovan, Clayton Mansfield, Brooklin Bailey, Roberto Lupini, Luka Filipi (a), Aubrey Beckley, Ruan Korb, Albert Venter, Keagan Thomas, Andrew Williamson, Hayden Griffiths, Dylan Mostert, Gordon Neale, Combrinck Smit, Ben Firth, Jack Duthie, Quintin Wilsnach.
Nethunzwi pleads for Soweto as he delights in home victory

Nethunzwi pleads for Soweto as he delights in home victory

Musiwalo Nethunzwi says more professional golf tournaments should be staged at the recently-refurbished Soweto Country Club, where he won the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi on the first playoff holes against James Kamte on Thursday. Now, he leads a group of 15 players into the upcoming season of the Sunshine Tour. “It would be great if we could have tournaments here,” said Nethunzwi of his desire to see more professional events being staged at his home course, “even if it’s just two tournaments in a season, even one – that would be great. This golf course has produced many good golfers. Bafana Hlophe is from here, Vincent Tshabalala who won the French Open, he was from here.” Nethunzwi was three shots off the lead at the start of the final round, with Jacquin Hess leading as he had done from the start of the tournament. Gaining confidence because of the local support and the fact that neither of Hess nor James Kamte looked like they were running with it. He made par in the first and second holes before making a birdie on the par-five third. He didn’t make any gains but didn’t drop any shot until a birdie came, this time on the par-three 7th. With the pressure mounting, Nethunzwi held on steady, making four straight pars in a determined effort to safeguard the gains he’d already made while going for victory himself. “I did a good preparation coming into this week,” he revealed. “victory was always on my mind. I’m grateful to be the first one to win a professional tournament here. There are a lot of guys that are playing well here, the IGT (Tour) guys, the Big Easy (Tour) guys. When you come here, you’ve got to bring your A-game. “This is the only chance you get. It comes once a year and if you don’t make it, you have to wait for a whole year. That comes with a lot of pressure. But I prepared well” His back nine was just as similar, with birdies on the par-five 12th and the par-three 17th to sign for an error-free four-under 68. Hess fell away and Kamte threatened as did Thanda Mavundla. It was Kamte and Nethunzwi in the playoff, however, after they played to a share of the lead, with the former Nethunzwi winning it on the first playoff hole where Kamte made a double-drop. “This is a marathon,” he said, “When we started on the first day it was raining and I had no rain-gear, I forgot it at home. I was happy with the 75 in round one. But, I told myself that this is a marathon and I don’t have to put myself under pressure because there are 54 more holes to play. Every day, my caddie and I went home and looked at my stats and we found I improved daily. “In the playoff, I saw James hit it to the right and I knew there was no shot there. I have been hitting it to the left all week. When his second shot got caught by the tree, I told myself that anywhere on the green will do for me, take a five and walk away. He was never going to make a five there.” Players who earned their Sunshine Tour cards: Musiwalo Nethunzwi, James Kamte, Irvin Mazibuko, Thanda Mavundla, Jacquin Hess, Alpheus Kelapile, Makhetha Mazibuko, Adriel Poonan, Yubin Jung, Siyanda Mwandla (a), Evance Vukeya, Dwayne Basson, Nikhil Rama, Lindani Ndwandwe, Sipho Bujela, Jason Diab.
Hess holds on in Soweto while McIntyre makes his move in Houghton

Hess holds on in Soweto while McIntyre makes his move in Houghton

Judging by the leaderboards after the third rounds of both the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi, and the Final Stage of Qualifying School, the final rounds at both these tournaments promise to deliver an exciting finish at Soweto Country Club and Houghton Golf Club, respectively. In Soweto where the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi is being played, overnight leader Jacquin Hess, who been at the top since day one, held on to his lead, after carding a one-under-par 71 round to get to five-under for the week. He leads Thanda Mavudla by three shots after the latter also shot a 71 to get to two-under-par. Local man Musiwalo Nethunzwi and James Kamte tie third on one-under-par and will have some work to do on Thursday if either of them is to be the first to win a Sunshine Tour event in Soweto. Alpheus Kelapile lies fifth and is level-par going into the final round. In Houghton, a blemish-free five-under-par 67 helped PH McIntyre to a 15-under-par total, a score he ties with Rupert Kaminski and they co-lead by just two shots ahead of tomorrow’s round. Throwing his name in the mix in round three was Tristen Strydom who destroyed the golf course with a solid 10-under-par 62 to get to within two strokes of the lead. He opened with a birdie but made a bogey immediately after that. He regained composure and made a birdie on the third. Then a par on the fourth hole. And then four more birdies, one after the other before making a par on the ninth. Enjoying the run of birdies, Strydom made two more straight birdies after the turn, and then birdied the 13th, 15th and 17th to sign for a 62. Luke Brown, Byron Coetzee and Brooklin Bailey share fourth on 12-under-par and they are three shots back.
Hess in pole position at Vusi Ngubeni, Roets has thin lead at Houghton

Hess in pole position at Vusi Ngubeni, Roets has thin lead at Houghton

Jacquin Hess carded a second-successive two-under-par 70 to total four-under and takes a three-shot lead into the third round as he aims to retain his Sunshine Tour playing rights. Hess was co-leader with James Kamte coming into the second round but played solidly to maintain his position at the top, while Kamte dropped to after shooting a four-over 74 second round at the tough Soweto Country Club. Hess birdied the third, 12th and 13th holes but made a drop on the last holes to finish on two-under. Overtaking Kamte and now occupying the second spot is Thanda Mavundla whose eventful round consisted of two eagles, a birdie and three bogeys en route to a two-under 70 which took his tournament total to one-under. The best score of the day, however, belonged to Alpheus Kelapile –  a four-under 68 –who now shares the third spot with Kamte at level-par while Irvin Mazibuko, Yubin Jung, Thabang Simon, Gerard du Plooy and Nikhil Rama share the fifth spot. They are one-over-par. Over at Houghton Golf Club in the final stage of qualifying school, Jason Roets signed for a seven-under-par 65 second round and takes a one-stroke lead over Rupert Kaminski going into the round. Kaminski’s great form continued into this week, however, and on Tuesday, he shot the best score of the round – a 64, which took his tournament total to 12-under and just a single shot off Roets’ lead. Tied in a share of the third spot is PH McIntyre after he carded a round-two six-under 66. He, along with American Brooklin Bailey who played solidly in the opening round, and Byron Coetzee is on 10-under-par for the week and trails by just three shots. Divan van den Heever and Gordon Neale share the sixth spot on a tournament total of nine-under.
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Hess, Kamte lead in Soweto while play is suspended at Houghton

The Vusi Ngubeni Tournament presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi got underway at Soweto Country Club in Pimville, Soweto, on Monday and experienced campaigner, James Kamte co-leads after the first round. He signed for an opening round of 70, tying that score with Jacquin Hess, and the two of them sit pretty at the top with a two-stroke lead at the end of round one. Kamte started off nicely, making four birdies in his first four holes of the day and kept things steady on the front nine to turn in 31 and error-free. His solid run continued on the homeward nine, picking up birdies on the 10th and 12th holes before trouble began. A double-bogey on the par-four 13th hole marked the beginning of problems for the member of the Gary Class, Kamte, and one hole later, another unwanted bogey got onto his card before making another on the last to undo the great work he’d done on the front nine. Hess’ round was a little different to Kamte’s in that while Kamte started like a house on fire, Hess was slow off the mark, making six pars in a row to get started. He made a bogey on the seventh, and that was soon followed by another dropped shot on the ninth to spell an unhappy front nine for the Robertson Golf Club member. At two-over-par after nine holes, Hess knew he had to turn things up on the back nine and that’s exactly what he did. He picked up an important birdie on the par-five 10th and that was followed by three more one after the other as he went on to sign for a 70 to co-lead with Kamte by two shots. Meanwhile, the final stage of Qualifying School also got underway at Houghton Golf Club. Dangerous weather conditions forced play to be suspended for at least two hours as lightning and thunder hit the area very early on Monday morning. Eventually, play resumed and surprisingly low scores emerged, with American Brooklin Bailey firing on all cylinders in round one. He signed for a blemish-free seven-under-par 65 to lead by two under tough weather conditions. He opened his round with a birdie on one and after three straight pars, back-to-back birdies found their way onto his scorecard. After making the par on the seventh, bailey found joy again, birdieing the eighth to turn in 32. Pars from the ninth to the 12th steadied his round as the weather conditions were getting tougher with the rain seemingly refusing to subside. On 13, Baily found another birdie and that was followed by another, a hole later, before closing off with another birdie to sign for a bogey-free opening round. Keagan Thomas was six-under through nine holes and looked set to unseat Bailey from the summit of the leaderboard but play was suspended again because of bad light.
Kaminski qualifies top for Final Stage

Kaminski qualifies top for Final Stage

Rupert Kaminski’s good form continued in the final round of the First Stage of Qualifying School where he shot a four-under-par 68 to qualify for the final stage top of his class on a total of 21-under-par. Leading by three shots coming into the final round, Kaminski said he would go all out to try and post a decent score, as any sense of complacency could lead to disaster. He did just that, hitting massive drivers to try and get on the front foot in what would be a weather-affected final round where play had to be suspended for over two hours because of dangerous weather conditions. As a result, a massive number of players – most of whom were not going to make the top 30 nor were they going to share that spot First Stage – retired. To start his round Kaminski made back-to-back pars and a birdie in his first three holes but those were quickly followed by a bogey. He bounced back on the seventh and eighth holes, making birdies there. And those must have sparked something to get him firing hot again because he followed those up with a trio of birdies from the 10th through to the 12th. He kept things steady from there onwards, making five pars before a painful bogey got onto his card on the last hole. “I got off to a bit of a slow start,” Rupert admits. “but I managed to find some momentum in the middle of the round. From there, I just kept it going but I was unfortunate to make a drop on the last hole. In all, I am very happy with the way I played this week. “I wanted to get it to anything under par and try to get to 20. It was always going to be difficult to repeat  yesterday’s score but I think I did well and 21-under-par is not bad.” Qualifying behind Kaminski and with the course record of eight-under-par is Gerhard Pepler who finished on a total of 16-under-par. “This was the best round I’ve ever played in my life.” said Pepler, “I just went out there with no expectations. I just wanted to enjoy the golf. I started well and just kept going from thereon. There was no pressure for me because I was far from the lead and far from the cut, so I just went out to enjoy it.” Pepler started like a house on fire, birdieing his first four holes and made further gains on the seventh and eighth holes to go six-under and blemish-free on the front nine. Coming home, Pepler made his birdies on the 12th and 14th holes to sign for a perfect 64. “My chipping and putting game was solid today,” said Pepler of what worked for him. “A round like this gives you confidence and I am now definitely looking forward to next week at Houghton” Players qualifying for final stage are Rupert Kaminski, Gerhard Pepler, Morne Buys, Luke Brown, Vaughn van Deventer, Rigardt Albertse, Landon Michelson, Gregory Mckay, Basil Wright, Richie O'Donovan, Andrew Williamson, Cameron Moralee, Gaelen Trew, Paul Colditz, Luke Trocado, Brandon Gildenhuys, Ben Firth, Graeme Fransman, Carlo Heunis, Michael Kok, Christopher Van der Merwe, Gordon Neale, Danie Van Niekerk, Matthew Cooper, Kaleb Gorbahn, Stephan Erasmus, CJ Levey, Bradley Diggeden, Nicholaus Frade Roux Jeffery, Bryce Bibby, Caylum Boon and Ruan Groenewald.
Kaminski pulls three shots clear at State Mines 2

Kaminski pulls three shots clear at State Mines

Rupert Kaminski backed up his second-round 66 with an error-free seven-under-par 65, a course record here, to take his tournament total to 17-under-par, giving himself a three-shot cushion ahead of the final round of the First Stage of Qualifying School at State Mines Country Club. While he admits that his ball-striking was spectacular all week long in the East Rand, Kaminski says the season he spent on the Sunshine Tour has taught him a lot of things, some of which he has employed this week at State Mines. “Qualifying School is a real mental grind,” he notes, “but I seem to be handling it quite alright and I think it’s just testament to the Sunshine Tour and how it builds character and helps you strengthen your game overall. My ball-striking has been really good this week and I have been putting nicely too.” Kaminski, determined to progress to the final stage which will be staged at Houghton Golf Club next week, showed composure early on in the third round, birdieing the first two holes before making an eagle on the third. Three holes thereafter, another birdie made its way onto his card to go five-under and blemishless on the front nine. His back nine consisted of two birdies – on the 10th and 11th holes – and those were followed by seven straight pars as he sought to consolidate his lead over amateur Rigardt Albertse who is 14-under-par for the week. “I have played well this week and I will definitely be taking some momentum into next week,” Kaminski,” Kaminski says. “I will not change anything tomorrow and I will try to shoot the lowest score that I can and just take that confidence with me to Houghton.” Seven shots off Kaminski lies the duo of Luke Brown and current State Mines club champion, amateur Vaughn van Deventer. In a share of fifth and on nine-under-par is Ireland’s Richie O’Donovan, Basil Wright and amateur Gregory McKay. Making up the top 10 after 54 holes are Landon Michelson of the United States, Gerhard Pepler and Morne Buys at eight-under for the week.
Mwandla leads road to Soweto while Kaminski takes to the top at State Mines 1

Mwandla leads road to Soweto while Kaminski takes to the top at State Mines

The first stage of the Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School came to its conclusion at Observatory Golf Club on Wednesday, with 31 players qualifying for the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament Presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi to be held at Soweto Country Club next week. Overnight leader, amateur, Siyanda Mwandla signed for one-over-par 73 in the final round but still qualifies top of the leaderboard on a total of two-under over the 36 holes played here. “It was a rollercoaster out there today,” admitted Mwandla who was once tipped to develop into a great golfer by Retief Goosen. “But, I hit the ball nicely but I couldn’t  convert the putts that I was supposed to but two-under overall is still decent.” He, along with the other 30 which include 19-year old Nikhil Rama whose biggest win in the Junior Circuit was that scintillating wire-to-wire victory he pulled in the inaugural Friends of Engelberg Challenge hosted by Anna Becker-Frankel at Devndale Golf and Wine Estate in Stellenbosch to celebrate his national breakthrough last year. Rama finished in a share of the second spot with Zu Mavunda, with both players finishing on six-over-par after 36 holes. They now move to the Vusi Ngubeni presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi Tournament with a purse of R100 000 to be played at the beautiful Soweto Country Club in Pimville where Sunshine Tour playing cards will be earned. Over at State Mines Country Club in the First Stage of Qualifying School where there are 36 more holes to play, it was Rupert Kaminski along with amateurs Rigardt Albertse and Gregory McKay who shot to the summit of the leader board in round two. They are on 10-under-par for the week and have a single shot lead over Luke Brown, in what has been a closely contested first stage of Qualifying School in Brakpan. Brown occupies the fourth spot while the fifth spot is taken by Vaughn van Deventer. Morne Buys, Dabnie van Niekerk and overnight co-leader, Basil Wright are all seven-under-par and share the sixth position on the leaderboard. Caylum Boon, CJ Levey and Gerard Pepler share the ninth on six-under going to the third round. Players who qualified  at Observatory GC: Siyanda Mwandla, Nikhil Rama, Zu Mavundla, Keanan Aysen, Warrick Greentree, Jarryd Govender, Lindani, Presley, Nkosikhona Dilla, Brandon Moodley, Tebello Maphike, Kamalan Munsamy, Ethan Joseph, Alee Solomon, Juninho Classen 75 81, John Sangqu, Norman Sebaku, Donald Makhafola, Songz Sonamzi, Ricco Motsa, Joe Mnyandu, Siphiwe Nhlapo, Phathisi Ndlovu, Tetelo Jonathan Seseni, Neo Mokgatle, Thabo Motale, Mchumane Wayiti, SP Mthethwa, Arnold Mazibuko, Norman Lucas, Adonis Johnson, Ashwin Krishen.  


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