And for my Latest Trick . . .
Michael Scholz wins PGA title at first attempt.
He’s known as a flamboyant trick shot artist (right), with an amazing comedic repertoire of quirky stuff, but Michael Scholz showed that he can also play great conventional golf when he won the PGA National Championship presented by Diners Club.
The veteran pro and occasional Sunshine Tour player claimed the Denis Hutchinson Trophy for the first time after having three sub-par rounds at Stellenbosch Golf Club in the Cape Winelands. “To have my name on this trophy is an honour,” said Scholz.“A few years ago Denis gave me a tip about putting in which he said just swing the club, and it’s made such a difference to my putting. I eagled the par-5 12th hole in all three rounds – that is really unusual.”
The PGA Tour had a trick-shot golfer, Wesley Bryan, win the RBC Heritage in April. He and his brother started a YouTube channel featuring their videos.
Scholz, 46, was playing in the PGA’s signature tournament for the first time, having only qualified last year as a PGA of SA professional under the mentorship of Dave Usendorff, while he was general manager at The Els Club Copperleaf. Scholz and Usendorff were familiar faces on local TV on the SuperGolf programme (now cancelled), hosting the humorous Dave & Mike Golf 101 segment about the rules. He markets himself as the 40-year-old rookie, and has a website by that name. He’s a big hit at corporate golf days with his zany performances, doing about 100 of them a year. “Trick shots are the rage onYouTube, but in my job I cannot afford to fail performing a trick in front of a live audience,” he says.“If you’re doing something for YouTube, you can do as many takes as you like to get it right.”
At Stellenbosch, Scholz also got it right when it mattered, having a 10-under-par total of 206 (67-70-69) for a one-shot victory over Pretoria professional Pieter Kruger and Rob Wiederkehr, originally from Cape Town, who has been teaching
in Switzerland for several years. Both shot 71 in the last round after sharing the 36-hole lead with Clinton Grobler (Ruimsig), who finished fourth on 209. William Guy (Somerset West) was fifth on 210.
PGA Chief Executive Ivano Ficalbi was thrilled with the new champion.
“Michael’s outgoing personality and love for the game is a good fit for the PGA,” said Ficalbi.“Even though he’s not your typical associated club professional, a PGA professional is somebody who works in the golf industry.That’s what Michael is. He’s an entertainer and he plays golf to have fun and he represents our brand in an unbelievable way because he wants more people playing the game.”
The winning Inland team. From left, Michael Balderstone, Rudy Whitfield, John Dickson, Craig Stickling, Pierre Van Vuuren, Paul Marks, Hans Jonck, Jannes Sik, Michael Scholz, Martin Briede, David Riddle, Dietrich Uys.