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Golf | SA

James Kingston © Gallo Images

Kingston ready to roar in Mother City



This week the Sunshine Tour returns to Cape Town for the first time in a decade, as the inaugural Lion of Africa Cape Town Open gets under way at Royal Cape Golf Club on Thursday. For James Kingston, it could present the perfect opportunity to resurrect what has been a slightly disappointing year.

The man from Rustenburg couldn’t quite get it going in the South African Open last week, as weekend rounds of 72 and 73 at the Serengeti course meant the veteran had to settle for a share of 20th place in his national Open.

However, the €10 662 cheque he earned for his finish was still the fifth-highest he has claimed this year, as a season with just one top-10 finish on the European Tour has seen him slip to 135th in the Race to Dubai standings - considerably lower than his 75th place finish last year.

This has also resulted in Kingston missing out on the final in the Emirates this week, but it might be a blessing in disguise for the 46-year-old. Playing in the Cape this week may well be a good change of scenery, and victory in the R2-million event could be just the catalyst to regaining the momentum in his career.

Kingston, for one, is excited about the week ahead at Royal Cape.

“It’s so nice to play an event in the Cape again. It’s sad that we don’t get to pay here more often. To come back to one of the oldest courses in Cape Town, an old-style golf course that has hosted so many tournaments in the past, it’s nice to come back and enjoy that again.

“It’s great for the Sunshine Tour that they’ve brought a tournament back to Cape Town, and to Royal Cape,” he said.

This week Kingston and 155 players will tee it up at the par-72 course, and will be hunting down the impressive first prize of R317 000. For Cape golf fans, it promises to be a wonderful occasion and will give the locals a chance to see the Sunshine Tour’s finest talent in action after missing out for nearly 10 years. Even Kingston’s memories of playing in the Mother City had become hazy.

“All the old faces, my old friends were here. It was nice to bump into a lot of those guys and it just feels like the old days again. I must tell you that there were a lot of holes out there that I couldn’t remember, even though it was only 10 years ago. It was nice to play the course again, and it’s in great shape. It’s awesome to have an event back here,” he said.

Kingston will have a strong field of players to contend with if he is to scoop the coveted first prize though. European Tour winners Hennie Otto and Darren Fichardt will no doubt be in the mix, while Jaco van Zyl, who just missed out on a place in the Race to Dubai final, is another who will like his chances.

These European Tour stars are not the only ones to catch the eye, as Sunshine Tour winners Bryce Easton, Jake Roos, Keith Horne and Doug McGuigan will comprise part of a field that is guaranteed to provide high-class golfing entertainment over the four days.

Play will begin at 6:30am on Thursday once Alderman Patricia de Lille has hit the ceremonial first tee shot, and tickets, for a charitable donation of R10, will be available at the gates. For those not in the area this week, live weekend coverage will be available on SuperSport from 12:30 on Saturday and Sunday.

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