THE country’s top golfer Brendon de Jonge has had an incredible season this year as he enjoyed a solid finish to the FedEx Cup and four top-10s on the PGA Tour.
Teeing off with Henry Mhara
But arguably the highlight of his career so far was being named in the International Team for the Presidents Cup last September.
It was a resounding endorsement of a player who at one point had scored more rounds in the 60s than any other player on the PGA Tour this year and made more birdies than any other PGA Tour player since 2009
Without any doubt, it has been one of his best seasons in his career since bursting into the spotlight as a fresh faced 15-year -old and thin looking golfer at the Zimbabwe Open championships in 1997.
Now at 33 and looking really big, de Jonge still thinks he is yet to arrive.
Speaking after taking part in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa last week, his first career start in a non-major on the European Tour, de Jonge is planning on more golf abroad and more achievements next season.
Played at the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa, he scored 73 69 68 74 to finish tied at 9th.
This was an average performance by his high standards, on his first trip to Africa this year, but the biggest news out of it is that he has accepted Affiliate Membership on the European Tour, thus making himself eligible for the Race to Dubai.
“I’m going to try and play a bit more globally,” he said. “I think it rounds off your game.” Because he advanced to the TOUR Championship, de Jonge is already eligible for the first three majors and the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
“The kind of golf is so different to what we’re used to playing in America. Everything’s in the air in America, whereas on the European Tour the conditions can get windy and firm. It’s a different kind of golf and very refreshing.”
This Thursday, de Jonge will be part of a strong 30-men field that will line up in the $6,5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City in South Africa, hoping to improve his Alfred Dunhill Championships performance.
It will be the first time he will be participating at this tournament, regarded as the most lucrative tournaments on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, and certainly the richest tournament on the Sunshine Tour with a first place cheque at $1,25 million.
He will be hoping to emulate his idol Nick Price who won this title thrice in 1993, 1997 and 1998.
The only other Zimbabwean to win this title is Mark McNulty after his triumph in 1986.
“Brendon is one of the most exciting players in the game at the moment. I’ve got no doubt he’ll continue the proud tradition of Zimbabwean golfers in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Many South Africans have never seen him play, so we’re really proud to be able to bring him to Sun City,” said tournament director Alastair Roper.
Besides his impressive run on the PGA Tour this year, he also closed out the season in style when he made it into all four of the FedEx Cup Playoff tournaments.