There were eye-catching victories aplenty on the Sunshine Tour during 2020, but, in the end, the players who grind out a whole year of action at home while some get to strut their stuff abroad are real heroes, and perhaps none more than Jaco Prinsloo.
Prinsloo came out of the blocks fast as the season got underway, and picked up victories in the Players Championship in March and the Serengeti Pro-Am Invitational just two weeks later. That made him one of only two multiple winners on the Tour for 2021 (the other was Alex Haindl), and the addition of two more top-10 finishes in August and September has him sitting pretty in eighth place on the order of Merit with 13 events to go.
The flashy wins came from the likes of Brandon Stone in the Limpopo Championship, JC Ritchie in the Cape Town Open, Wilco Nienaber in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, Dean Burmester in the PGA Championship, Thriston Lawrence in the Joburg Open and Daniel van Tonder in the South African Open Championship.
And there were other significant wins: Daniel Greene finally getting over the line for a maiden win at Humewood in September, Louis Albertse and Luke Brown also pulling off maiden Sunshine Tour wins, and the likes of George Coetzee, Jbe’ Kruger, Jacques Kruyswijk and Lyle Rowe underlining their abilities with victories.
But, in the end, Prinsloo epitomised just what it takes to make a success of playing on a tough circuit like the Sunshine Tour, grinding out solid finishes when the luck or the flair deserted him, and taking advantage of things when they went his way.
It is that kind of grit that will stand him in good stead in the remaining events of the season, including inexplicable repeats of some tournaments that formed part of the season at the beginning. For Prinsloo, the fact that some of them will be co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour will only serve to spur him on as he seeks to do what all the good players from the Sunshine Tour aspire to, and that is make the step up to one of the international circuits.