Prinsloo riding wave of confidence ahead of Limpopo

He’s won twice already this season on the Sunshine Tour, and Jaco Prinsloo will ride the wave that confidence brings as he tees off on Thursday in the Limpopo Championship at Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate.

Prinsloo won the Players Championship hosted at Dainfern in a three-way play-off from the in-form Daniel van Tonder and Jake Roos, and he cruised home by two strokes from Jaco Ahlers in the Serengeti Pro-Am Invitational two weeks later at the end of March.

“Obviously, I’m feeling good, feeling confident,” said Prinsloo. “I’ve got a lot of good results behind me, and it’s good to be getting back to playing an event again.”

The Limpopo Championship heralds a return to action for the Sunshine Tour after a three-week hiatus, and the co-sanctioned tournament gives local South African players a chance to test themselves against international players from the Challenge Tour as that circuit swings back into action after their COVID-19 truncated 2020 season ended in November last year.

Prinsloo had a solid start to last year’s tournament, but he was unable to kick on and finished in a share of 29th, 14 shots off the winning total of 19-under. “My putting is definitely better now than it has been for a long time,” he said. “I’m also driving the ball pretty well, and the main thing was I was giving myself a lot of opportunities.

“And confidence is such a big thing, as well. The second win in March was almost purely because of the first one. You just keep riding the wave and keep doing what you’re doing.”

For Prinsloo, there will be much more than an international threat posed by the likes of veteran German Marcel Siem, former Dimension Data Pro-Am winner Philip Eriksson of Sweden, the young Dane Kristoffer Reitan and Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson.

Prinsloo will find himself challenged by South Africa’s newest European Tour winner in Van Tonder, who is, if anything, even more confident that ever after his rise inside the world’s top 100 players. Van Tonder opened last year’s Limpopo with a stunning nine-under 63, and in current form, can keep going low this time around.

There is also the defending champion, JC Ritchie, for Prinsloo to consider. His good friend Ritchie has not been in the best of form this season, but a return to the scene of his 2020 two-stroke victory over the big-hitting Wilco Nienaber should stoke his competitive fire once again.

“It feels brilliant to be back,” said Ritchie. “I’ve felt like my game has been close for a long time now. I had a long struggle through the back end of lockdown, and I felt like I just needed a holiday. I’ve been switching off for the past two weeks, and I blew the dust off the clubs this week. I feel like I’m fresh and ready to go.”

Nienaber himself is back, and he is keen to return to the kind of form which took him so close to victory in the Joburg Open late last year.

“I’m very pleased to be back,” said Nienaber. “I’m playing the course for the first time since last year. I’ve definitely grown as a player since then.”

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