8th July 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Van der Merwe welcomes ‘big-hitter’ label
Peetie van der Merwe has been on Tour for no longer than six months but has quickly developed a reputation as one of the longest hitters, a label he is happy to take in his rookie season as a professional.
He was turning heads even in the Big Easy IGT Challenge with his ability to hit the golf ball into the distance and after securing his Sunshine Tour card at Qualifying School early this year, a lot of attention was about to follow.
He is currently ranked first as far as the driving distance standings are concerned, reaching a mind-boggling 325 metres up to this point, and by the looks of it, a lot more is yet to come.
“The attention is quite nice,” he says about all the comments relating to how far he hits a golf ball. “I think distance is one of my greatest strengths but you still have to hit it straight, especially around the courses we play every week. But the main thing is still getting the ball in that hole.”
The Centurion Golf Club player has made three starts this season – after failing to qualify for the Investec Royal Swazi Open and the Lombard Insurance Classic – and while he missed the cut in Sun City, he does boast 34th placings in the Zanaco Masters and at the second edition of the KCB Karen Masters which was a played over a week ago in Nairobi.
“It’s tough on Tour,” he remarked, “but, I guess the first year is always tough. I’m getting to know the guys and all of them are just so good but I am enjoying this level of competition. The main goal for me is to keep my card.”
Of his short-term goal for his maiden season, the 25-year old is very clear. “I need to get in contention more,” he said. “The first few tournaments I was just trying to make the cut and get into the weekend but the more we play, I think, I just need to come out and play to win.”
Van der Merwe is ranked fourth in the Rookie of the Year race and is over R 300,000 behind the leading Garrick Higgo.