Having enjoyed success as an amateur in the windy Cape, Wilco Nienaber is more than ready to get going at this year’s RAM Cape Town Open co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour.
The tournament gets under way on Thursday and Nienaber returns to the Cape after some solid first few events as a pro.
He was set for a top-10 finish at the Eye of Africa PGA Championship in Eikenhof three weeks ago but forgot to sign his scorecard, an error which got him disqualified. Then, two weeks later, he finished second in the Limpopo Championship, the first of three events the Sunshine Tour is co-sanctioning with the Challenge Tour this year.
‘I’d like to take that momentum into this week,’ says Nienaber from Royal Cape Golf Club, one of the two venues that are set to host this mega showdown, the other venue being King David Mowbray Golf Club. ‘I played good golf at Eye of Africa, played good golf last week. So, I am looking forward to this week because I’ve had quite a bit of success down here in my amateur events.’
While he has not won an event as a professional just yet, his length off the tee has had pundits and fans talking and, to some extent, left some even worried that he might be a little bit too aggressive on the ball. A tag which does little to bother him.
‘Because I hit the driver pretty long, I guess some people will see me as an aggressive player,’ he notes. ‘I think I am an aggressive player because I know that is my strongest point. But, it doesn’t bother me because coming to the Cape is the same game for me, you still have to hit the fairways, still have to hit the greens even in the wind, it is just a little bit trickier to do it.’
Like many golfers who have come down to Cape Town this week, Nienaber says he enjoys playing in this region despite the frequent and gusting winds which the area is associated with.
‘I don’t know,’ he said when asked about what it is that players enjoy the most about coming down to the Mother City. ‘You see Table Mountain while playing, it’s relaxed, the people in Cape Town tend to come out and watch us play, so there’s no one specific thing you can say you enjoy. It’s just a great experience to come down here.
‘This week is a bit different to last week because last week it was bushveld and it was pretty wide,’ he says when explaining what it takes to play well here.
‘Here, it’s tree-lined and you’ve got to hit good shots to have an opening for your second shot and to be able to hit the greens on the right spots, you have to hit the fairways, that’s just it.’