ZIMBABWE’S top golfer and reigning Sports Person of the Year, Brendon De Jonge, will be hoping for a good start to the new year when he opens his 2013 campaign on the US PGA Tour at the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii, tomorrow.
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO SPORTS REPORTER
The Sony Open will be the first official event on the PGA Tour after last week’s unofficial Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, which is expected to end today after being marred by bad weather at the weekend.
The 32-year-old bulky US-based Zimbabwean golfer who enjoyed a successful 2012 season will be one of the players in the strong 148-man field competing for a share of the $5,5 million purse with Sunday’s champion taking home $990 000 in prize money.
De Jonge, who is 83rd on the official world golf rankings, will be hoping to improve on his previous performance in the Sony Open. The talented golfer, who is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, finished tied for 10th at last year’s tournament in Hawaii and just four shots short of the eventual champion, American Jason Wagner.
De Jonge is still searching for his maiden PGA Tour victory despite enjoying a brilliant 2012 season in which he raked more than $2 million on the PGA Tour.
Should he start this season the way he ended the previous campaign, it will only be a matter of time before De Jonge finally ends his wait for a win on tour.
The United States-based golfer’s top performances last year included an impressive tally of five top 10 finishes in the 2012 season and holed a tour-best 425 birdies, while making the cut in 27 of 31 starts..
His best stretch came late in the season when he finished second at the Justin Timberlake Shriner’s Hospital for Children Classic where he also shot his career-best score, a 62 in the opening round.
He also tied for fourth in consecutive weeks at the McGladrey Classic and the CIMB Classic.
His performances have seen him join the elite group of Zimbabwe’s golfers such as Hall-of-Famer Nick Price, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone, who have all made an impression in the golfing world in the past.