Pros gear up for BMG Classic
The Sunshine Tour’s leading lights are tipped to shine this week at the fifth annual BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 19-21 October.
Seeking glory ahead of what will be a bumper summer for the Sunshine Tour, the BMG Classic has once again drawn a strong field of seasoned professionals and young rising stars, hoping for success in the R600 000 event.
Among the past champions in this year’s field are 2008 champion Doug McGuigan, who won the inaugural event, Brandon Pieters, the winner in 2010, and James Kamte, who holed a 20-foot putt in a playoff against Danie van der Walt to claim the title last year.
As it has for the last four years, this year’s BMG Classic will again herald the start of the more lucrative summer swing on the Sunshine Tour.
“I think it's a real measure of the status of the BMG Classic on our schedule that all but four of the Sunshine Tour winners this year are in the line-up for Glendower,” says Trevor Fisher Jnr.
“BMG is one of the longest standing sponsors of the Tour and they have been around for nearly 20 years. A lot of great golfers own a BMG title. It’s definitely one I wouldn’t mind owning myself.”
Having sponsored the Highveld Classic at Witbank Golf Club for 13 years, BMG launched their own event at Ebotse Golf and Country Estate in 2008. A year later, BMG moved the tournament to Glendower, where it has been staged since.
Fischer Jnr, a two-time champion after back-to-back victories at the Wild Waters Challenge and Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour in Sishen, calls the BMG Classic is one of the most popular events on the schedule.
“Even as the Bearing Man Highveld Classic, the tournament has always been very popular,” he says. “The seasoned pros enjoy it because it sets the mood for the summer and has just the right level of challenge to prepare us for the upcoming tournaments. And the rookies and younger players get the chance to test themselves at a challenging layout under the kind of pressure they will face when the bigger tournaments roll around.”
For many years, the BMG Classic has formed part of a key period for many Sunshine Tour players, hoping to fine-tune their games and improve their rankings ahead of the major summer tournaments.
Charles Waters, CEO of BMG, said the company continues to find value in the sponsorship.
“We believe there is great synergy between ourselves and the Sunshine Tour players," he said. "Our core values are mirrored by our country’s future champions, because focus, tenacity and quality lies at the heart of every top golfer. This is why BMG will continue to support the Sunshine Tour in providing a competitive platform for the rising stars of South Africa.”
Other two-time winners this season include Bryce Easton and Jake Roos, as well as Dimension Data Pro-Am winner Oliver Bekker, Zimbabwe Open champion Chris Swanepoel, Swazi Open winner Christiaan Basson, Zambia Open champion Justin Harding and Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour winners Ryan Cairns and Allan Versfeld.
Fisher Jnr, who ranks fifth on the current Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and who will be the highest ranked player in the field, added that the par-72 layout at Glendower Golf Club will be a tough test.
"It’s a former South African Open Championship venue, so it’s a top class layout,” he said.
“The course is tight, long and demanding, but the strategy is simple. If you are accurate off the tee and into the greens, you can have a birdie feast like James, Dawie and Bradford Vaughan enjoyed last year. If you hit it offline though, you pay the price.”
Spectators are welcome to attend the tournament from 19-21 October and will not be charged an admission fee.