Golfers set to ride the Wild Waves

They’ve earned their spots in the pro­fes­sional ranks, but now it’s time to make their mark in the top flight

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Two Sun­shine Tour pros, Toto Thimba Jnr and Makhetha Maz­ibuko, are de­ter­mined to make their mark by win­ning the Wild Waves Golf Chal­lenge at the Wild Coast Sun Coun­try Club, KwaZulu-Natal. The tour­na­ment starts on Thurs­day. Both play­ers have per­formed rel­a­tively well since break­ing into the pro­fes­sional ranks, but are yet to reg­is­ter ma­jor vic­to­ries in the top flight.

They be­lieve this tour­na­ment will open the flood­gates for them to prove them­selves in the big league.

Thimba (28), who hails from Mamelodi in Tsh­wane, has won the Big Easy Tour twice (2011 and 2013).

Last month, he con­quered the IGT Mahikeng Pro-Am by one shot to clinch the R200 000 purse prize at Leop­ard Park Golf Club.

Thimba, who is yet to make it big on tour by lift­ing a tro­phy in the big league, be­lieves the Wild Coast sil­ver­ware will be for him to win af­ter the fi­nal round of the event.

“My psy­chol­o­gist has been help­ing with the as­pect of ap­proach­ing the game. I’m look­ing for­ward to win­ning,” said Thimba, who missed the cut for the fi­nal rounds of the Joburg Open at the Royal Jo­han­nes­burg & Kens­ing­ton Golf Club, and the Th­swane Open at Cop­per­leaf Golf & Coun­try Es­tate in Fe­bru­ary.

“Be­sides, my swing and putting have im­proved, and I am con­fi­dent of giv­ing it my best shot against a top-class field.”

Maz­ibuko (26) hopes it will be smooth sail­ing for him af­ter a “dis­as­trous show­ing” in the Big Easy prepa­ra­tion game at Glen­dower Golf Club this week.

“[The Wild Waves Golf Chal­lenge] is the tour­na­ment I have to win at all costs to prove how good I re­ally am in the top flight. Having grad­u­ated into the tour last year, I’m de­ter­mined to show I de­serve to com­pete at the high­est level,” said the Bloem­fontein-born golfer.

Last year’s con­test was won by An­drew Curlewis, who carded rounds of 66, 63 and 65 to pocket the R600 000 purse prize.

But Maz­ibuko said he was de­ter­mined to make the course dif­fi­cult for Curlewis, who is quite ac­cus­tomed to the venue as he hails from Mar­gate, a sea­side resort town in the same area.

One of Maz­ibuko’s high­lights in the pro­fes­sional ranks in­clude fin­ish­ing sev­enth in the Big Easy Tour at Ob­ser­va­tory Golf Club in Joburg last year.

PHOTO: PETRI OESCHGER / SUN­SHINE TOUR / GALLO IMAGES

EYE ON THE BALL Mbabane in May

Makhetha Maz­ibuko dur­ing the Lom­bard In­sur­ance Clas­sic in

PHOTO: PETRI OESCHGER / GALLO IMAGES

BIG SWING Toto Thimba Jnr tees off dur­ing the Tsh­wane Open at Cop­per­leaf Golf & Coun­try Es­tate

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