Golfers tee off at grand new SA course

Professional golfers will be put to the test at the new Ebotse Golf & Country Estate in Benoni when they tee up at the Sunshine Tour’s BMG Classic on Thursday.

The R60-million links course, designed by Peter Matkovich, will play host to a professional tournament for the first time.

The layout has spectacular features such as a 40ha lake, tee shots from heights of up to 25m and seven water holes. The course measures 6 372m and has been built to United States PGA specifications with a par-72 rating.

The tournament will be contested by 144 players, including previous winners Bradford Vaughn, Darren Fichardt, Dion Fourie and defending champion Marc Cayeux of Zimbabwe.

Also teeing up are the in-form men Trevor Fisher Jnr and Desvonde Botes.

Fisher and Botes were involved in a dramatic three-hole play-off in the Travel Seekers Pro Am at Dainfern Country Club last weekend. Fisher eventually prevailed after Botes had squandered two birdie putts for what would have been a deserved win.

”Those weren’t easy putts and I misread the line,” said Botes. ”So I’m not really worried about that for this week. I have been working on my putting the whole week and generally am playing nicely, so we’ll wait and see.”

Botes had praise for the course but also sounded a warning to his fellow professionals.

”It’s a very enjoyable course to play and for a new course the greens are very good,” he said. ”But it’s not the easiest course. You have to hit the ball straight. If you stray off the fairways, you are in big trouble.”

The tournament offers prize money of R500 000, with the first-place cheque worth R79 250. — Sapa

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