Mixed successes for SA golfers


South Africa’s golfers achieved mixed success worldwide on Thursday.

In California in the PGA Series’ Farmers Insurance tournament on the challenging Torrey Pines course, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Garrick Higgo both had to pack their bags after landing under the ax at the halfway mark.

Bezuidenhout and Higgo played 70 and 69 respectively in the second round, but finished on 142 (-2) one stroke outside the 141-shot trap.

Bezuidenhout pocketed more than R27 million last week with his second place in the American Express tournament. Great expectations were placed on him this week, but it seems that his good performance has left him tame rather than sharp. He could never really gain momentum.

*In Florida in the LPGA series, Paula Reto delivered a decent performance on the first day of the Drive On Championship. The South African did not allow the difficult Bradenton course in Florida to force her to her knees and she filled in a score of 70 (-1) on her scorecard.

Reto conceded a stroke at the first hole. Birdies at the second and fifth put her at -1, after which she finished her round with thirteen consecutive figures.

Whirling winds and the course’s small and undulating greens made things difficult for the players and Reto was one of only 41 out of 120 players who could surpass the course mark of 71.

*In the United Arab Emirates, Brandon Stone was tied for second at -8 after the first round of the DP World Series Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

The Englishman Colin Shinkwin set the pace at -9.

However, on Friday morning, halfway through the morning field’s second round, Stone climbed to the top step of the leaderboard and took the lead after 27 holes at -11.

Zander Lombard also got ahead early on Friday morning and was tied for fifth with nine holes left in his round at -8 after finishing the first day at -6.

However, there is still a long way to go for anyone who dreams of success.

*On home soil, the Sunshine Series resumed and Oliver Bekker and Willie Olivier took the lead at Maccauvlei in Vereeniging on -7 after the first round of the Mediclinic invitational tournament.

Bekker and Olivier’s scores of 65 are great performances on a formidable course that also has a lot of water to test the players.

In the past, Maccauvlei was the home course of Major champions Bobby Locke and Charl Schwartzel.

Bekker is an eight-time Sunshine Series winner, but finds himself a bit in the wilderness these days. His performance on Thursday may be just the spark he needs to find his best game again.

Five players, including Jovan Rebula, occupy the joint third position at -5 and they will hope to catch the two leaders and push for the crown over the remaining three rounds.

  • Additional information: PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, DP World Tour, Sunshine Tour