Stone’s good form may lead to vic­tory

Sun­shine Tour top brass say he’ll win Cape Open with big­ger mar­gin

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

When Bran­don Stone tees off at the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open on Thurs­day, it will be great for the young golfer to make a suc­cess­ful de­fence of his ti­tle and set a new record. Stone cap­tured last year’s event at the same venue, Royal Cape Golf Club, mark­ing his first pro­fes­sional win, by card­ing a score of 16 un­der-par 276 to be crowned cham­pion.

This was the big­gest win­ning mar­gin by a golfer since the event was first played in 2012 and won by Jake Roos with nine un­der-par 279.

The sec­ond-big­gest mar­gin win was a -14 for 274 reg­is­tered by Tjaart van der Walt in 2013, fol­lowed by Jaco Ah­lers’ card in 2014 that re­flected -12 for 276.

Stone’s leader­board read­ing makes the Rusten­burg­born player, who also cam­paigns on the Euro­pean Tour, the Cape Town Open’s top scorer so far.

He left no doubt about his abil­ity and was ec­static to claim his maiden vic­tory in the Mother City, pock­et­ing R1.5 mil­lion in prize money.

Sun­shine Tour of­fi­cials be­lieve the 23-year-old stands a good chance of mak­ing a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence by win­ning with an even big­ger mar­gin, given his good form at the mo­ment.

Sun­shine Tour chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer Grant Wil­son said: “There are great play­ers who will be out to im­press dur­ing the event, but Stone’s cur­rent great run sug­gests he might win again.

“It will be good for the tour­na­ment and him­self to win and be­come first player to make it two in a row in this young com­pe­ti­tion.”

Stone capped an im­pres­sive record this year that saw him cap­ture the SA Open at Glen­dower Golf Club in Eden­vale, Gaut­eng, in Jan­uary. He carded an im­pres­sive 14 un­der-par 274.

In do­ing so, Stone cap­tured his first Euro­pean Tour co-sanc­tioned show­down and pock­eted R15 mil­lion in prize money.

Stone, who turned pro­fes­sional in 2013, fin­ished 69th at the Ned­bank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Coun­try Club in Sun City last Sunday.

As he com­petes at the DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship at Jumeirah Golf Es­tates in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates, which ends to­day, Stone will be aim­ing at bag­ging his sec­ond Euro­pean Tour tro­phy.

Other top golfers who have reg­is­tered to com­pete at the Cape Town show­down are lo­cals Hen­nie Otto and Keith Horne, as well as Den­mark’s Morten Ørum Mad­sen.

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