Tuesday, 11 January 2011
The Sunshine Tour acknowledged its top players on Tuesday ahead of its richest tournament, the €1.3-million Joburg Open, an event co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
At a function at Sandton’s Michelangelo Hotel, Charl Schwartzel was handed the Sid Brews Trophy for winning the 2010 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. Schwartzel won last year’s Africa Open and the Joburg Open, and he had top-four finishes in three other events – the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf at Gardener Ross, the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the SA Open.
His only finish outside the top 10 was after his honeymoon, when he finished in a share of 14th at the SAA Pro-Am Invitational at Prince’s Grant in KwaZulu-Natal.
He earned R5,097,913.58, more than R3-million clear of second-placed Thomas Aiken.
Jaco van Zyl was awarded the Gary Player Trophy for being the player with the leading stroke average in a minimum of nine tournaments.
His average of 68.90 was achieved over a total of 67rounds in 20 tournaments, and it was bolstered by his victory in the SAA Pro-Am Invitational at Paarl, where he won at 22-under-par, a three-round record on the Sunshine Tour.
The Bobby Locke Trophy for the Rookie of the Year was won by Anthony Michael. The 25-year-old finished his year in style, sharing second behind Spaniard Pablo Martin in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
It was that performance which secured him the award, but he also had two other top-10s during the year – a share of fourth behind winner Jbe’ Kruger at the Africom Zimbabwe Open, and a share of ninth at the BMG Classic behind champion Brandon Pieters.
The Players’ Player of the Year was Van Zyl – an honour accorded the four-time winner in 2010 by his fellow professionals after a ballot held amongst the top 120 players in the 2010 Order of Merit.
Van Zyl also took the Golf Writers’ Award. It was awarded to the Sunshine Tour member who, having played at least 10 tournaments in South Africa in 2010, the media believe was the most significant newsmaker of the year in South African professional golf.
The Sunshine Tour Commissioner’s Award, voted for by the management and staff of the Sunshine Tour, went to Ulrich van den Berg as the player who best epitomised the true professional – a player who consistently represented the tour in the most effective way; was respected by his fellow professionals and treated them with respect; and was an ambassador for the game as well as the Sunshine Tour.