Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

AGE 34 BORN/RE­SIDES Pre­to­ria AT­TACH­MENT Sil­ver Lakes Coun­try Club CA­REER Two-time win­ner on the Sun­shine Tour (2008 Africa Open, 2011 Nashua Masters) and Asian Tour (2015 Yeangder TPC, 2016 Myan­mar Open). Only the sec­ond South African to earn a Ja­pan Tour card (af­ter Don Gam­mon in 2000/01). Played for SA at the 2002 Eisen­hower Tro­phy with Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen be­fore turn­ing pro.


My dad Pa­trick taught me and my three broth­ers to play golf. He was a scratch player at Hume­wood in Port El­iz­a­beth be­fore mov­ing to Pre­to­ria where we were born. He showed us how to con­trol ball flight in the wind, which ul­ti­mately helped me win twice on the Sun­shine Tour at windy venues – Fish River Sun and Wild Coast.


I’m a year older than Alain and four years older than Kyle.We all played in the 2002 SA Ama­teur at Ge­orge GC as teenagers and went on to earn Sun­shine Tour cards. I’m the only one that still plays pro­fes­sion­ally; Kyle owns a se­cu­rity busi­ness and Alain runs a petrol sta­tion and bil­tong deli.We last played to­gether a few months ago at Sil­ver Lakes which was great fun, but (still) hugely com­pet­i­tive.


I’ve gone low count­less times at Sil­ver Lakes and played off a +9 hand­i­cap in 2002. I once had an ea­gle putt at the par-5 18th for a 58 but charged it past and missed the re­turn! Last year in a club com­pe­ti­tion I faced a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion but made sure to lag it close for a tap-in 59.


It took me six years to win on the Sun­shine Tour. I had hoped it would have come ear­lier. My SA team­mates as am­a­teurs – Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen – achieved a lot quite quickly, but I never wor­ried about it. I al­ways be­lieved the hard work would pay off. It just took me longer to ma­ture as a per­son and un­der­stand the pro game bet­ter. Most im­por­tantly, not to try too hard.


My first win in Asia last year was ter­rific, but vic­tory at the Myan­mar Open in Fe­bru­ary this year was hugely sig­nif­i­cant.The event was co-sanc­tioned with the Ja­pan Tour so I gained a two-year ex­emp­tion there, and de­cided to play in Ja­pan for the re­main­der of the year.

It’s lu­cra­tive, the events carry good World Rank­ing points, and at the Ja­pan Open in Oc­to­ber (won by Hideki Mat­suyama) 14 000 fans showed up for the pro-am! But it hasn’t been easy. On the Asian Tour the venues are usu­ally at hol­i­day re­sorts, but in Ja­pan it can be more ru­ral so the lan­guage bar­rier is a prob­lem. Sim­ple things like or­der­ing off a Ja­panese menu (with no pho­tos) be­comes tir­ing. I em­ployed a friend, Chase Manna, on my bag this year, and he has helped keep me com­pany (and sane) while trav­el­ling in the Far East.

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