Michael Vlismas – MOOKGOPHONG, Limpopo (9 August 2013) – A week in Euphoria for the Sunshine Tour marked the beginning of one career, the reaching of a significant milestone of another, and professional golf taking a swing at childhood bullying.
On a cold and wet day in the bushveld, George professional Heinrich Bruiners capped a wire-to-wire maiden victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf on the Annika Sorenstam-designed Euphoria layout on Friday.
It was an incredible display on a golf course that for the most part had tormented the professionals. But not Bruiners, who had to qualify for this event and went on to finish with a 71 to win on eight-under-par, finishing five clear of Jake Roos and Adilson da Silva.
“It feels exceptional. I’ve worked hard and I feel like it’s now paid off,” said Bruiners, who almost had his career ended by a serious car accident last year and has had to work his way back from that injury.
Bruiners went into the final round with a four-stroke lead, then saw it cut down to one early on the back nine with Jake Roos, Adilson da Silva and Allan Versfeld all closing in.
But Bruiners responded with incredible calm for someone playing in the final group for the first time in his career. He eagled the par-five 12th and birdied 13 to open up a four-shot lead again before his eventual triumph by five shots.
“This is the first time I really felt like I could win. I had a lot of support from back home as well, and I felt really relaxed out there.”
The final round also brought up a significant milestone for Port Elizabeth professional Titch Moore, who reached his 300th tournament on the Sunshine Tour.
“I’m pretty pleased that I’m still sane,” said Moore, who finished this event in a share of 23rd. “It’s been 16 years on Tour, but it’s been great.
One of the highlights for me was finishing second alongside Ernie Els in the 2000 Vodacom Players Championship. That kind of got my career going.
Since then I’ve had seven tournament victories on the Sunshine Tour and 13 second-place finishes. For me to still be out here and competing is very pleasing.”
Moore and his fellow professionals also played their part for the social cause of this event. The professionals and invited amateurs wore purple socks on the final day in support of the JAG Foundation’s Bully Proof campaign aimed at putting an end to childhood bullying.