In a season of up three runner-up finishes and a top-five in his last five events, the win for Michael Kok at State Mines Golf Club this week must have felt inevitable.
And to make sure he stayed in second place in the Chase to Sunshine Tour 2020/22 rankings with fully 24 tournaments still to go before the final is played at Centurion on December 13 might not seem too important, but Kok found himself closing on Casey Jarvis atop the rankings as three players seek the prize of Sunshine Tour cards for finishing the long season in the top three spots.
Kok featured in a fine come-from-behind victory at State Mines over Kyle Barker – who was responsible for Kok’s heartbreak in Centurion the week before – Paul Boshoff and veteran Thabang Simon who finished in a three-way share of second.
Kok will take that form into next week’s tournament, the fifth in the series, the Big Easy Road to Sunshine Tour, which takes place at The Els Club Copperleaf. That series has a total of 10 tournaments ahead of the three play-offs which are scheduled for the latter half of November. The top six after the play-offs will earn Sunshine Tour cards.
The current six are Vaughn van Deventer, Kyle McClatchie, Dylan Kok, Gerhard Pepler, Herman Loubser and amateur Ryan van Velzen.
On the Chase to Sunshine Tour, Michael Kok has made some headway on Jarvis while opening up some space between himself and the third-placed Van Deventer, who didn’t play at State Mines. He lies in ninth spot on the Big Easy Road to Sunshine Tour, so he will be hoping that he continues to reproduce his recent form and that it takes him inside the top six.
After that, it’s a question of maintaining his position for the rest of a pair of long seasons – a tough task in a sport like golf.
He will take heart from the fact that he led the birdie-making race at State Mines with 16, hit 11 of 14 fairways in regulation in his final round, as well as 13 of 18 greens in regulation, and had just 27 putts in his round.
That kind of consistency will serve him well.