Davidse chases second Investec title, but…

11th January 2019 | Sunshine Tour

Davidse chases second Investec title, but…

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Davidse chases second Investec title, but…

While the main Sunshine Tour Order of Merit chase is heating up as the season draws to a close, things are just as exciting with the Investec Order of Merit of the Gary Player Class where Keenan Davidse is gunning for his second successive title.

Last season, Davidse claimed the R250 000 sponsorship for the top-ranked golfer on the Investec Order of Merit while Makhetha Mazibuko walked home with the R150 000 for the second-placed golfer on those rankings. Toto Thimba came third.

Now, with six tournaments left on the schedule this season, the race for the top two spots is as exhilarating, as familiar faces battle it out with new challengers.

Davidse still leads the pack and will be determined to keep things that way if he is to secure back-to-back honours of being top of his class. After 18 starts this season, the diminutive Devonvale Country Club member sits R60 000 clear at the top with earnings of R262, 080, 43. In an interesting twist from last season’s events, Thimba – who was third behind Mazibuko and Davidse at the end of it all – occupies the second spot. He has played 19 tournaments, one more than Davidse has.

The surprise package this season is Derick Petersen. His second-place finish at the final event of the 15th season of the Vodacom Origins of Golf series at Pinnacle Point aided his pursuit of the top spot. He trails Davidse by close to R140 000 with six events to play.

However, given the large purses carried by the final six tournaments of the season and the small margins by which Davidse leads, the top spot is still very much anybody’s to take. In theory, Heinrich Bruiners who occupies the fourth spot on a total of R103 000 – and even the fifth-ranked Musiwalo Nethunzwi (R76 292) – has every opportunity to ascend to the summit.

There are three R2-million events still coming (Eye of Africa PGA Championship, Cape Town Open and Tour Championship) while both the new Limpopo Challenge and the Team Championship boast R1.5-million in prize money. The biggest among the remaining tournaments is the Dimension Data Pro-Am which has a purse of R5-million. A strong finish from any of the aforementioned players and in any of the remaining events is guaranteed to shake things up.

While players like Jacquin Hess and even Bruiners keep their spots in the top 10, new faces have appeared, with rookie Franklin Manchest making the most of his debut season while Yubin Jung’s returning season hasn’t been a disappointment either. Veteran Thabang Simon has had a few solid results in crucial tournaments and his effort’s reward is a place in the leading 10 players on the Investec Order of Merit.

The Gary Player Class is the Sunshine Tour’s development programme which benefits from the longstanding support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), founded in 1999 by Johann Rupert as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in a collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.

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