Pretoria - Erik van
Rooyen can seal the 2017/18 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with a solid showing
at the Tshwane Open, which tees off at Pretoria Country Club on Thursday.
He has to
finish alone in ninth place or better to make sure he doesn't get caught from
behind in the R15 million tournament, co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the
However, the reality is there is only a handful of players with
recent form who seem to be close enough to him to stop him from winning.
excited for this tournament," said Van Rooyen, who owes his strong position to
his second-place finish to India's Shubhankar Sharma in December’s Joburg Open. "It's the last big one of our Sunshine Tour season and I honestly believe the
Order of Merit is going to come down to this one. I’m in a really good spot and
I have everything to look forward to."
The man in
second place currently is JC Ritchie, who came third in the SA Open and won
the Zimbabwe Open.
The best scenario for Ritchie to win is if he finishes 10th
or better in the Tshwane Open and Van Rooyen misses the cut.
Sunshine Tour Order of Merit hasn't been a big priority for me up until about
SA Open," said Ritchie. "I'm going to try and keep it that way and focus on
Tshwane. I'm going to focus on the next 72 holes, and if I play them like I
want to, then the Order of Merit won’t be a problem."
third place on the Order of Merit is Oliver Bekker.
His likeliest path to
victory is that he would have to finish third or better, have Van Rooyen miss
the cut, and Ritchie finish eighth or worse - as well as have a lot of the
players below third at the moment have poor finishes at Pretoria Country Club.
Bekker, players like Shaun Norris, Ockie Strydom and Louis de Jager all have
mathematical chances of chasing down Van Rooyen.
They all would have to finish
third or better in the Tshwane Open, and hope that other players above and
below them either miss the cut, or have a very poor tournament this week.
is still the R1.5 million Tour Championship which can change things on the
Order of Merit, the Tshwane Open with its huge prize-fund is the one the
players are targeting.
I know who's on the list and who is doing really well," said Van Rooyen.
Ritchie is in some really good form, along with Oliver Bekker, who has had a
great season. I can't control how they play. I can only focus on my game and
that’s what I’m going to do."