South Africa: Vodacom Origins of Golf Series Increases Prize Money

Sishen — The 16th season of the Sunshine Tour's Vodacom Origins of Golf series tees off at Sishen Golf Club this week, and with a number of new incentives for the rising young professionals of the Sunshine Tour.

The five-tournament pro-am series has launched the professional careers of Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Aiken, George Coetzee and most recently Zander Lombard, all of whom claimed their maiden professional titles on the series.

This year, there is further incentive in terms of increased prize money and greater opportunities for the country's professionals.

Each tournament boasts increased prize money of R1-million , a significant increase from the R800 000 per tournament last year.

With just under R70 000 separating JC Ritchie in first place on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and Toto Thimba in third, consistent success in the Vodacom Origins of Golf events could result in some significant changes on the Order of Merit before the lucrative summer tournaments tee off.

And the Final event on this year's series will also serve as the qualifying tournament for December's €1-million Mauritius Open, a tri-sanctioned tournament between the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour and where the winner will earn playing privileges on all three Tours.

Since it teed off on the Sunshine Tour in 2004, the Vodacom Origins of Golf series has been the backbone of the winter schedule of the Tour. It's influence is further reflected in the fact that seven professionals who have won on the series have also won the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit title, including Lombard last season as well as Coetzee, Aiken, Branden Grace, Garth Mulroy, Darren Fichardt and James Kingston.

Justin Harding is another success story from this series, winning his first professional title on it in 2010.

He's won a further two tournaments on the series, and this year broke into the top 50 on the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career amidst a run of victories on the Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and European Tour over the past two years.

The Sishen tournament starts with a 36-hole pro-am on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by the main 54-hole tournament starting on Thursday.

Source: Sport24

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