Two top-10 finishes and a victory in his last five tournaments makes defending champion Vaughn Groenewald a very attractive bet in the R700,000 Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge which tees off on Wednesday.
And with the momentum of his win at Arabella last week with him, as well as something of a reputation for being able to produce the goods in back-to-back tournaments, Groenewald is very happy to be returning to the scene of his one-stroke victory over Mark Williams in last year’s event.
‘Just after winning, I normally win again – that’s what I want to do,’ said Groenewald of this week’s tournament. ‘I love the course. I was up there in the tournament when we played there in July, and it was just a 73 on the final day which messed it up for me.’
It’s been a bit like that for him: His share of 20th in the Sun City Challenge at the beginning of the month came off an opening 69 and then consecutive rounds of 76 saw him slip out of contention. ‘I’ve been close this year,’ he said. ‘There have been a couple of tournaments when I have been leading and I’ve messed it up.’
He started fast in last year’s Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge, with a six-under 66 which had no bogeys in it. And while he made two bogeys in the second round and three in the third, his consecutive 67s were enough to give him a one-stroke edge over Mark Williams of Zimbabwe, with Jaco van Zyl another shot back in third.
He comes into the week with the confidence that he can reproduce that kind of form. ‘Since I’ve moved to George and am playing out of Kingswood Golf Estate, it’s changed my life,’ he said. ‘I’m a lot more relaxed. I’m playing great courses and meeting great people. I’m believing in myself more.’
That sounds ominous for the other competitors.