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Golf | SA

Dawie van der Walt © Gallo Images

Van der Walt banking on change in form

Last year Trevor Fisher Jnr had to rely on a sponsor’s invite to play in the R700 000 Nedbank Affinity Cup, and he went on to win the tournament. This week, Dawie van der Walt also needed a sponsor’s invitation into this event. And he’s hoping for the same result.

Confusion around the deadline for entries meant Van Der Walt missed the cut-off. But he was given a sponsor’s invitation and heads to the Lost City Golf Course looking for the same kind of break Fisher Jnr enjoyed last year.

After his breakthrough European Tour victory in the Tshwane Open in March, Van Der Walt has struggled for the majority of the season, missing a string of cuts of late.

The reason is a sprained left ankle after stepping in a hole in July. “This thing has been giving me so many problems with my game,” said Van Der Walt.

“I stepped on a root again about a month ago and that worsened it. When I injured it the first time it was such a bad sprain that it almost looked like I broke it. I didn’t wait long enough before I came back. It’s frustrating considering how well I started the year, but that’s how things go I suppose.”

Trying to compensate for the ankle has seriously disrupted Van Der Walt’s swing.

“I’ve been trying to change me stance and as a result am hitting the ball badly. I’ve been trying to protect the ankle during the swing. I’ve been having treatment from a physio and am working hard to get my game back because I’m on a downward spiral at the moment. I think I’ve hit rock bottom, so now would be a good time to turn it around.”

A strong field has gathered at Sun City for this event, including two former champions in Fisher Jnr. and Warren Abery.

Veteran European Tour campaigner James Kingston is looking for some inspiration ahead of the summer following a frustrating season on the European Tour.

Titch Moore has twice sacrificed a lead on the final day of a tournament this year and is due a win, while Dean Burmester was tied for the lead going into the final round of this event last year before surrendering to Fisher Jnr.

Jacques Blaauw, Jean Hugo and Ulrich van den Berg have also all won this year, while rookie professional Dylan Frittelli comes looking for his maiden Sunshine Tour victory.


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