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.
ON WINNING AT THE COAST
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.
ON SIBLING RIVALRY
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.
ON THREE-PUTTING TO SHOOT 60
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.
ON BEING A LATE-BLOOMER
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.
ON AN ASIAN BREAKTHROUGH
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.