Can Korb cement spot as regular Sunshine Tour winner?

As the Sunshine Tour prepares to get back into action again this week, 75 players will do battle on Thursday for 10 spots in the new Kit Kat Group ProAm which tees off at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s East Course.

It’s a small 72-man field in the main tournament because of the amateurs who will be in the draw from Friday until Sunday in the 54-hole event, so there will be keen competition in the qualifier. Proven Sunshine Tour winners like Jared Harvey, Michael Hollick, Riekus Nortje, Heinrich Bruiners, Andre de Decker and Lyle Rowe will have to battle to get a start they would normally feel they deserve by right in the main event.

And once they get past that difficult first hurdle – 75 into 10 is a tough equation – they will find themselves up against more Sunshine Tour champions as well as proven European Tour winners like Garrick Higgo, Darren Fichardt, Jbe’ Kruger and Dean Burmester.

Despite all the star-power amongst the main field, perhaps the man who might have the best chance of all is left-hander Ruan Korb. He has been keeping himself tournament-ready by playing on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour, and a victory at Wingate Park as recently as February 17 shows he is battle-hardened.

In addition, he won his maiden Sunshine Tour title back in November last year when he too the Time Square Casino Challenge. So he has stepped up his level a play a notch, and he certainly will be out to show that he belongs in the conversation about favourites on the tour week-in and week-out.

With the tournament being played on one of the most challenging championship courses in the country, players with local knowledge will be at an advantage. Neil Schietekat is one of the tour players who is a long-time member there, and with three Sunshine Tour titles to his credit, seeing him challenging for the title would be unsurprising.

One of the newest additions to a roster of professionals who play out of the club is Zander Lombard. He gained his maiden Sunshine Tour title back in 2018, and, playing on a sponsor’s invitation, he will be keen to get his record looking a little more respectable than missed cuts at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the South African Open Championship suggest about his abilities.

The qualifier tees off at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club tomorrow at 7.40am.

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