Ori­gins of Golf Tour set to siz­zle

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

Golf fans will wit­ness a tough com­pe­ti­tion on the fair­ways when lo­cal draw­cards Bran­don Stone and Dar­ren Fichardt tee off in the Vo­da­com Ori­gins of Golf Tour.

The event takes place at High­land Gate Golf and Trout Es­tate in Dull­stroom, Mpumalanga, on Thurs­day.

This is part of a se­ries of proam golf tour­na­ments in South Africa. It be­gan in 2004 and falls un­der the win­ter wing of the Sun­shine Tour.

It will be staged in Mpumalanga for the first time this year. Other prov­inces that will host it are Gaut­eng, KwaZulu-Na­tal, Western Cape, North­ern Cape, Eastern Cape and North West.

Stone and Fichardt are the only top South African golfers who have reg­is­tered to par­tic­i­pate in this show­down. The ma­jor­ity of the con­tes­tants are golfers who have not won any no­table con­tests on the tour so far.

Stone capped off a good sea­son by win­ning two big events on the Euro­pean Tour last year. He took the SA Open Cham­pi­onship ti­tle, beat­ing Chris­ti­aan Bezuiden­hout by two strokes at Glen­dower Golf Club in Jan­uary. His other win was in the Alfred Dun­hill Cham­pi­onship, where he posted a six-stroke vic­tory over Richard Sterne at Leop­ard Creek Coun­try Club in Male­lane in De­cem­ber.

He is on the field at the Bri­tish Open cur­rently un­der way at Royal Birk­dale in Southport, England.

Fichardt lifted the Joburg Open tro­phy by one stroke, beat­ing run­ners-up Welsh­man Stuart Man­ley and English­man Paul War­ing by a stroke at Royal Johannesburg & Kens­ing­ton Golf Club in Fe­bru­ary.

This win was his fifth in Euro­pean Tour events.

He lifted the Vo­da­com Ori­gins of Golf tro­phy in 2011.

But the event will not lack spark as de­fend­ing cham­pion Zam­bian Madal­itso Muthiya will be out to im­press. He won last year’s July show­down played at Wild Coast Coun­try Club, KwaZulu-Na­tal, by two strokes.

Muthiya (34) took up golf at the age of six and, when he was 15, caught the eye of for­mer Zam­bian pres­i­dent Fred­er­ick Chiluba, who ar­ranged for him to play ju­nior golf in the US.

With the ab­sence of some of the usual big names, Ge­orge Coet­zee and Keith Horne are the pro­fes­sion­als who will most likely give fans a good show­ing.

PHOTO: STUART FRANKLIN / GETTY IM­AGES

FAVOURITE Bran­don Stone

PHOTO: PETRI OESCHGER / SUN­SHINE TOUR / GALLO IM­AGES

CHAMP Madal­itso Muthiya

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