Toto Thimba Jnr returned to the Sunshine Tour winner’s circle in convincing fashion when he claimed a wire-to-wire victory in the Altron Big Easy Tour’s eighth tournament held at Dainfern Golf Estate.
The Silver Lakes Country Club player last tasted victory on any Sunshine Tour-sanctioned event five years ago in the KCB Karen Masters in Kenya. Since then, Thimba Jnr has shown glimpses of the brilliant golfer many touted him to be. This week and in testing weather conditions, Thimba’s star shone once more.
Bringing a three-stroke lead into the final round after rounds of 61 and 66, Thimba Jnr knew that he had a chance for a win here and his final-round six-under-par 66 was enough to hand him a two-shot win over Ruan de Smidt.
“We are going to have a big lunch today,” mused Thimba Jnr. “I have missed the feeling of winning a golf tournament. I played well this week; it was a phenomenal week for me. It was not easy today, though, because of the rain. The first nine holes were difficult but I kept calm and was very cool under pressure.
“I only made one mistake today and that was on the 8th where I made a six. I hit my 6-iron into the water but I kept my cool and still played solidly after that.
“I had missed winning because the last time I won a tournament was five years ago. So, to win again is special because it tells me that I still have what it takes. And, as I said, I didn’t go anywhere during the Christmas break and I kept working on my game. Now it is paying off.”
Thimba Jnr made three birdies on the front nine and those were accompanied by that solitary drop on eight.
Coming home and after the turn, Thimba Jnr went on a three-birdie run from 11 through 14 while masterfully keeping the big numbers off his card.
He then finished with a birdie on the par-five 18th to seal a convincing win against a strong field, a testimony to his strong mentality.
“I have worked hard to get my game back to where it is,” he said, “and I was very strong, mentally. That is one of my strongest aspects; my mindset. I did a lot of work in the gym and I have been on a healthy diet and I think it helped. Everything just clicked this week.”
It was not an easy ride for Thimba Jnr. De Smidt was on top of his game and his 64 in the final round proved it. It was not enough, however, to hand the Krugersdorp Golf Club player an early victory in 2024. A seasoned campaigner in his own right, and despite wanting the victory for himself, De Smidt will be satisfied with his efforts in this first tournament of the new year.
As for Thimba Jnr, he will now look ahead with renewed confidence knowing that he is still very much capable of winning against a tough field and in difficult conditions.
The next event on this Sunshine Tour development circuit will be held at Waterkloof Golf Club next week.