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Golf | SA

Hennie Otto © Gallo Images

Hennie happy to be back in Cape Town

It’s been 11 years since the Sunshine Tour visited Royal Cape Golf Club and for Hennie Otto it will be a trip down memory lane when he tees it up in the inaugural Lion of Africa Cape Town Open on Thursday.

“We used to play the Tour Champs here, and it’s good to come back to a nice, old course. It’s going to be a good week, having a tournament back in Cape Town. I think the people here are passionate about golf, so it’s going to be nice to see a lot of people here on the weekend,” he said.

Otto was defending champion at last week’s SA Open, but that’s not why he’s been in the news recently. The reason is that he broke into the record books with a final-round 62 at Serengeti Golf Estate, which was equaled the lowest score ever recorded at an SA Open. He claimed the course record in the process.

“It’s always nice to shoot low scores on the final day, like last week. It gives you more confidence going into new tournaments. It felt like I won last week, the way I played on Sunday,” he said.

With 12 wins on the Sunshine Tour, Otto knew what to expect the course this week.

“They’ve lengthened a few tees and it’s in good shape this year. If the wind’s not going to blow, it’s going to be low,” he said.

James Kingston, who last played at Royal Cape at the 2001 Vodacom Players Championship, spoke wistfully of his return to the Mother City.

“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 11 years ago,” he said.

Those 11 years have seen many changes, but like Kingston said, many of the old faces are back. More than a decade later Martin Maritz, Alan McLean, Bradford Vaughan, Omar Sandys and Darren Fichardt (to name a few) are back in action.

Kingston was all smiles about old rivalries in Cape Town.

“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.”


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