PGA win? It’s a Stone’s throw

CityPress - - Sport -

Todd says that the golfer’s re­cent good show­ing in Europe should open the flood­gates for other South Africans to do well in the tour­na­ment.

Those also out to make their mark in­clude Trevor Im­mel­man, Hen­nie Otto, Trevor Fisher Jnr and Richard Sterne.

“Stone has been the most con­sis­tent player this sea­son in Europe in my book so far. I would not be sur­prised if he ends up be­ing the first South African golfer to win the event,” said Todd.

The tour­na­ment, one of the rich­est on the Euro­pean Tour and the cir­cuit’s flag­ship event, tees off at the West Course at Went­worth Club in Sur­rey, Eng­land, from Thurs­day.

Todd will be one of the rules of­fi­cials at the con­test. His duty is to en­sure that play­ers ad­here to the rules of the game.

The tour­na­ment fea­tures the cream of the golf­ing crop and car­ries a purse prize of €5 mil­lion (R88 mil­lion).

It has not been won by a golfer from Mzansi since it was first played in 1957.

Most of the lo­cals have gone as far as fin­ish­ing tied sec­ond in the con­test (see box).

Still, Todd be­lieves that Stone’s re­cent on-form per­for­mances make him a firm favourite to win and gain au­to­matic entry into the forth­com­ing ma­jors – namely, the US Open, tak­ing place at Oak­mont Coun­try Club, Penn­syl­va­nia, from June 16 to 19; and the next Bri­tish Open, set to take place at Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayr­shire, Scot­land, from July 14 to 17.

The 23-year-old Stone has had an im­pres­sive 2016 sea­son on the tour.

He has been the most con­sis­tent player this sea­son in Europe in my book so far. I would not be sur­prised if he ends up be­ing the first South African to win

He won the SA Open, card­ing a score of 274 at Glen­dower Golf Club in Ger­mis­ton in Jan­uary. Last month saw him tie at sec­ond in the Shen­zhen In­ter­na­tional in Gen­zon, China. He reg­is­tered a score of –14.

And a week ago, Stone came joint sixth at the AfrAsia Bank Mau­ri­tius Open, which was held at the Four Sea­sons Golf Club in Anahita.

He is cur­rently ranked 13th in scor­ing av­er­age on the tour.

Todd, who has of­fi­ci­ated in 20 events in Euro­pean and PGA US tours, said that, as an of­fi­cial, he could hope­fully brief Stone about the tour­na­ment rules be­fore the game, ad­vis­ing him on how to avoid pos­si­ble in­fringe­ments on the course dur­ing the event.

“Weather con­di­tions will be ad­verse at Went­worth Club as play­ers will bat­tle to cope with the heat,” he said.

PHOTO: LUKE WALKER / SUN­SHINE TOUR / GALLO IM­AGES

POS­I­TIVE VIBES Sun­shine Tour tour­na­ment di­rec­tor Gary Todd (left) and Colin Nel

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