Grace, Fisher score in Sunshine Tour awards
Four-time European Tour winner Branden Grace and three-time Sunshine Tour winner Trevor Fisher Jnr were the big winners on Tuesday at the annual Sunshine Tour Awards evening.
At a function at Summer Place ahead of the €1.3-million Joburg Open, an event co-sanctioned with the European Tour, Grace picked up the Sid Brews Trophy for winning the 2012 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as well as the Commissioner’s Award for so effectively representing the Sunshine Tour.
Fisher was named Players' Player of the Year in a ballot of his peers, and he also won the Golf Writers’ Player of the Year for being the most significant newsmaker of the year among players who played 10 or more tournaments in South Africa.
The full list of awards is:
Sid Brews Trophy for the Order of Merit: Branden Grace
Branden Grace played eight tournaments on the Sunshine Tour in 2012, winning the Joburg Open and the Vodacom Origins of Golf final at The Links Fancourt. He won R2 760 319 to beat second-placed George Coetzee by over R800 000.
Bobby Locke Trophy for the Rookie of the Year: Danie van Tonder
Danie van Tonder had six top-10 finishes, coming close to victory twice with his share of second in the Investec Royal Swazi Open and in the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Selborne. A share of 15th in the lucrative Alfred Dunhill Championship secured him the award from Ruan De Smidt.
Gary Player Trophy for leading Stroke Average: Jaco van Zyl
Jaco van Zyl averaged 69.03 in his 29 rounds on the 2012 Sunshine Tour in eight tournaments. In six of those tournaments, he finished in the top 10.
Players’ Player: Trevor Fisher Jnr
Trevor Fisher Jnr, a the three-time winner in 2012, was accorded this honour by his fellow professionals after a ballot held among the top 120 players in the 2012 Order of Merit.
Golf Writers’ Player of the Year: Trevor Fisher Jnr
Awarded to the Sunshine Tour member who, having played at least 10 tournaments in South Africa in 2012, the media believe was the most significant newsmaker of the year in South African professional golf. Trevor Fisher Jnr was one of two three-time winners on the 2012 Sunshine Tour, boosting his career tally to seven titles. His first win was in the inaugural Wild Waves Golf Challenge at the Wild Coast. A week later, he took the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Sishen. He overcame looming disaster in the final round of the Nedbank Affinity Cup at the Lost City to claim his third title. He had his best ever year on the Order of Merit, finishing fourth with R1 502 092.64 from 21 events.
Big Easy Tour Order of Merit: Teboho Sefatsa
Teboho Sefatsa didn’t win a tournament on the Big Easy Tour – he saved his maiden victory for the Sunshine Tour – but seven top-10s and second place in the Tour Championship revealed the kind of consistency which was rewarded by topping the Order of Merit.
Big Easy Tour Championship: Mark Williams
Mark Williams didn’t win any of the regular events on the Big Easy Tour, but he made it to the Tour Championship and then closed that out with a bogey-free 67 around The Els Club Copperleaf – including three birdies in the closing five holes.
Commissioner’s Award: Branden Grace
Nominated by senior management of the Sunshine Tour, the award goes to Branden Grace, who had a 2012 that is the stuff of legend: four European Tour titles barely summarises his success, although his growth into one of the top young players in the world is now firmly established. But more than that, he was a player who consistently represented the tour in the most effective way; was respected by his fellow professionals and treated them with respect; and was an ambassador for the game as well as the Sunshine Tour.