15th June 2017 | Big Easy Tour
Prinsloo wins Joburg City Masters
Jaco Prinsloo carded a four-under-par 68 final round at the Joburg City Masters at Country Club Johannesburg on Thursday, to total 12-under-par and win his first Big Easy Tour event since 2013.
â€œI won a Big Easy event in 2013 or 2014 â€“ Iâ€™m not sure â€“ in Kempton Park. Itâ€™s been a while since I won on the Big Easy,â€ he said after his win, â€œbut, itâ€™s very nice to win the co-sanctioned event with the MENA Tour. It just feels like itâ€™s a step higher.â€
Prinsloo came into final round one shot back of Jamie Elson who was on nine-under. He quickly took the lead while Elson fell back and Omar Sandys was making upward movement on the leaderboard.
â€œThe last leaderboard was on hole number 15â€™s green,â€ Prinsloo said of the pressure that was being applied by the chasing pack, â€œand, I still had a three-shot lead there. And I thought â€˜OK, this looks pretty simpleâ€™, and all of a sudden on 17, Omar (Sandys) was on 10-under and put some pressure on me. But luckily I kept calm and put the ball in the right spaces, and yeah got it done.â€
The change of mindset he spoke about earlier in the tournament seems to have stood him in good stead in Johannesburg,Â as Sandys really looked like he would snatch it underneath Prinslooâ€™s nose.
â€œWell, I just had to keep doing the things I have done the last two days,â€ he said, â€œand, itâ€™s always a little bitÂ tougher to do that on the last day; a little bit more pressure. But, I managed to and kept calm and that got the trick done here.â€
Member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18, Sandys, fell two shots adrift of Prinsloo, while fellow squad member in that development programme, Jacquin Hess, settled for a shared third with Jeff Inglis of England and Francois Coetzee, on seven-under.
14th June 2017 | Big Easy Tour
Break does the trick for Wessels
He has played four Big Easy Tour events this season, finished second at Killarney and occupies second spot on the current Order of Merit, and Maritz Wesselsâ€™ game seems to be trending in the right direction in the early stages of the season.
Where, for many golfers, that would be down to some specialised training routine or a change in the mindset, Wessels credits his newly-found form to a different enabler. â€œWell, I had that little break where I caddied for Louis de Jager,â€ Wessels explains, â€œand, that just got me thinking a little bit differently; thinking better around the golf course, managing my way around the golf course better.â€
â€œI am now getting over the bad shots and making better decisions,â€ he said, â€œso, thatâ€™s been pretty much the difference.â€
Two top-10 finishes and that runner-up position at Killarney along with the 24th he got at Modderfontein, shows a player who is slowly regaining the form that saw him win twice on the BET back in August and September in 2014. That year, he won the Irene event and followed that up a month later with the BET Tour Championship played at his own club, The Els Club Copperleaf.
He wants to rekindle that form and the second round 67 he shot at the Joburg City Masters at Country Club Johannesburg on Wednesday points to a man on a mission. Six birdies and a solitary bogey made up his second round to take him to five-under, and add that up to his two-under-par 70 opening round and his total hits seven-under par, and puts him in contention ahead of the final round.
â€œIâ€™ve hit it nicely the last couple of days,â€ he said of his recent form, â€œI missed a couple of putts here and there but I also made some nice ones during the two days. But this golf course is in great nick and the greens are as close to perfect as you can get, and no wind this morning. Perfect scoring conditions.â€
Judging by his recent performances and finishes, Wessels is well on his way to rediscovering his form and a win at the BET-MENA co-sanctioned events will do wonders for the confidence of any professional player on that circuit.
13th June 2017 | Big Easy Tour
Hess takes early lead in Joburg City Masters
Jacquin Hess shot a six-under 66 opening round in the Joburg City Masters held at Country Club Johannesburg to take a slender lead of the second of three event co-sanctioned events between the Sunshine Big Easy Tour and MENA Tour.
He made four birdies on the front nine but those gains were under threat as soon as he bogeyed the fourth and eighth holes. He bounced back solidly on the homeward nine with a series of birdies from 14 to 16, and again on the par-five 18th. It was not all-smooth-sailing, however, because there was always the constant threat Brett Liddle, Sean Bradley and Omar Sandys to contend with as all these players looked like they would usurp him at the top.
â€œIâ€™m very happy; had a good start. Birdie on the first; itâ€™s always nice to start with a birdie,â€ Hess said. â€œI had a good practice round yesterday,â€ he said, â€œwhere I made four birdies back-to-back on the back nine, so I just came in with some confidence and I stuck to my game plan.â€
The member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18 development programme says he aims to get a good start in all upcoming events to give himself chances of winning some silverware this season. â€œMy aim is to get have a very good first round, and today the putter was fantastic,â€ he said.
â€œIn the next couple of months you have to play well in the first round to set yourself up well in the tournaments. That’s my main focus. Today I made it happen. I am very happy,â€ said Hess.
Tied at five-under 67 is the pair of Bradley and Liddle and lurking behind them is veteran, Sandys, along with Henric Sturehed of Sweden, Englandâ€™s Jamie Elson, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Eddy Holland, Jeff Inglis and Francois Smith, at four-under.
8th June 2017 | Big Easy Tour
Meyer leads suspended South to East Challenge
Breyten Meyer will need to come back to Ebotse Links early Friday morning in order to complete his second round of the co-sanctioned Big Easy Tour/MENA Tourâ€™s South to East Challenge however, he comes back with a one-shot lead over 2017-18 Sunshine Tour Q-School winner, Herman Loubser.
19-year-old Loubser took the early clubhouse lead on seven-under thanks to a fine two-under 70 in the cold, windy conditions. His round included four birdies and two bogeys however; itâ€™s the mentality the youngster showed on an icy Thursday on the Highveld, which was most impressive.
â€œThis morning we were first group off so it was tough. We couldnâ€™t feel our hands in the morning and just tried to grind it out,â€ he said of the conditions at Ebotse.
â€œTo be honest with you, the last few years Iâ€™ve not played in a lot of conditions like this. Iâ€™ve usually stayed in bed if it was this cold. It reminded me a lot of back when I was younger and sort of just grinding out in this weather, just trying to make pars instead of birdies and it brought back a lot of memories,â€ he explained referring to the 14-year period of his life he spent living in the Isle of Man before returning to South African shores.
â€œIâ€™ll see how it goes tomorrow. Iâ€™m obviously in a good position and thatâ€™s all I could ask for. If I can play the golf Iâ€™ve been playing the first two days Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll have a chance,â€ said Loubser.
Meyer will need to complete holes 17 and 18 early on Friday morning, however, heâ€™s confident it wonâ€™t upset his solid play.
“It’s not great having to come off now and be back tomorrow morning. It feels like I’m swinging it nicely and I’m happy with how it went out there today. Tomorrow will be exciting so I’m looking forward to it,” said Meyer.
7th June 2017 | Big Easy Tour
Meyer, Loubser lead South to East Challenge
Breyten Meyer and 2017-18 Sunshine Tour Q-School winner Herman Loubser both carded five-under-par rounds of 67 in round one of the co-sanctioned Big East Tour and MENA Tourâ€™s South to East Challenge at Ebotse Links.
Loubser, who spent 14 years living on the Isle of Man, birdied three of his last four holes to tie Meyer at the top of the leaderboard.
â€œI played well the whole day really. On the front nine I let a few putts slip away and three out of the last four holes I just holed three good putts which was nice,â€ said Loubser.
It was only Loubserâ€™s second look at the beautiful links layout after a quick nine holes yesterday. However, the 19-year-old said he enjoyed the experience when the wind came up.
â€œIt was tricky. It reminded me a lot of the links golf back in England and the Isle of Man. When I saw the wind come up a bit I was kind of excited and I played nicely today,â€ explained Loubser.
After a disappointing missed cut in Zambia last week, Meyer carded seven birdies around the tight layout and he said his performance was due to some self-reflection.
â€œI sat down after my rounds in Zambia and I was kind of disappointed because I knew I was playing well. I knew I had three Big Easy events coming up and I just had to be patient. It was a matter of time and it paid off today which was nice,â€ said Meyer.
Play was unfortunately called to a premature finish due to bad light, and, there will be an early start tomorrow in order for the remainder of the field to finish up round one.
11th May 2017 | Big Easy Tour
BET growing stronger with MENA aboard
BET growing stronger with MENA aboard
The Sunshine Tourâ€™s development circuit, the Big Easy Tour (BET), has been showing a steady growth and has proved to be a credible circuit over the past few years, and such growth has continued through to this season, as proven by the current Middle East and North African (MENA) Tourâ€™s partnership.
The current partnership between the two Tours sees three events being co-sanctioned by the BET and MENA Tour: The South to East Challenge, The Joburg City Masters and The ROAR. Hereâ€™s what you need to know:
The South to East Challenge, 6-8 June:
This co-sanctioned event will be played at Ebotse Links in Benoni. A strong field of players from both Tours has been assembled which will see a much stronger competition. Bryandrew Roelofse won this event last year.
Number one Nigerian golfer Andrew Odoh is among those in the field and will want to start well in this new season. The same will apply for Chilean Matias Calderon whose three wins in three months as a professional on the Tour de Pacifico prove he is a real talent. Calderon earned his Sunshine Tour card early this year at Q-School and will probably see this event as an opportunity to polish his game ahead of the next event on the main tour.
Another player to be watched will be Maritz Wessel who leads the current Order of Merit standings while members of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18 like Makhetha Mazibuko, Jacquin Hess and Altaaf Bux will also want to show their value.
Joburg City Masters, 13-15 June:
Played at Country Club Johannesburg, the Joburg City Masters is another massive success in the two Toursâ€™ partnership. Not only is it important for the city of Johannesburg but for the players as well, given the publicity and support it receives.
A seven-under-par 216 score clinched this title for Englandâ€™s Craig Hinton last year, beating NJ Arnoldi by two strokes to the title. Arnoldi is in the field for the tournament and he will see it as an opportunity to reverse the fate which befell him last year.
Players to watch at this event will include Bennie van der Merwe whose exploits at Q-School earlier in the year showed a man who can play. He occupies fourth on the Order of Merit and must be viewed as a threat in all events.
The ROAR, 20-22 June:
The Roar returns to the Waterkloof Golf Club in the capital, Pretoria. Riekus Nortje’s 13-under-par 216 proved to be more than enough to see off the chasing Teaghan Gauche who finished nine-under-par and settled in second spot.
This seasonâ€™s edition of the event promises to be just as breath-taking, especially looking at the field. The Vusi Ngubeni Q-School runner-up Gerard du Plooy has been seen by many onlookers as a talent which, once properly nurtured and unleashed, will become a genuine contender for victories. Luke Jerling has also played some solid golf in his rookie season of the Sunshine Tour as evidenced by some solid rounds at the Investec Royal Swazi Open recently.
Other players to watch at this event will include Wynand Dingle, Bennie van der Merwe, Anton Haig and Makhetha Mazibuko.