Knysna - This week's Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at the Simola Golf and
Country Estate is the last tournament before the Sunshine Tour's lucrative
summer schedule tees off, and a number of South African golf's rising stars
will be looking forward to the summer with plenty of expectations.
Garrick Higgo, Thriston Lawrence, Ruan Conradie, James
Hart du Preez, Deon Germishuys and Toto Thimba have all done enough this winter
to suggest a summer of opportunity lies ahead for them.
Higgo took only three months from securing his
Sunshine Tour card to winning his first tournament in June's Sun City
"Winning that first Sunshine Tour title means so much.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting to have this kind of success so soon. I'm just
out here trying to get better every week. But I've secured my Sunshine Tour
card now, so I've had to relook some goals and see what benefits come out of
finishing high on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. I've kind of figured it out
and it's motivated me a lot, even for me to try and win the Order of Merit this
year," he said.
Lawrence broke through with his maiden Sunshine Tour
victory in the Origins of Golf at Stellenbosch Golf Club, and following
two runners-up finishes before this.
"I'm in a good place and am very comfortable. In golf
you can't predict when you're going to perform well. I'm a big fan of playing a
lot of golf. At the moment I'm not even looking at the range and just trying to
play as much as I can and keep my form up. I'm in a good place for the upcoming
summer events and you never know, maybe I peak at the right time and get a
career changer," he said.
Thimba's victory in the KCB Karen Masters in Kenya was
a major confidence boost for not only himself but also the Gary Player Class
professionals he represents on the Sunshine Tour, which is a squad of players
the Tour has identified for support with their careers.
"Basically, I became tired of watching other people
win," he said of what drove him to a maiden title on the Tour. "I feel good
about my game and my health and my mental strength."
Conradie also chose this season to make his
breakthrough and had a further three top fives on Tour, while Germishuys came
close to a maiden title when he finished second in the Origins of Golf
at Stellenbosch Golf Club.
Du Preez has made incredible progress since
returning from a 15-month layoff due to injury. The tall golfer has finished
third and second in his last two tournaments.
"I haven't played in so long that everything I'm doing
is a new experience. I haven't been in contention like I am, so that's new. The
only thing I can do is just stick to what I'm doing, be diligent with my mental
game and my attitude and whatever happens happens. I'm having fun," he said.
After a winter of
content, it could be a life-changing summer of success for any one of these