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11th July 2023 | Big Easy Tour

Leading SA amateurs relishing Big Easy opportunities

The Altron Big Easy Tour is more than just a platform for players who are seeking to earn their way to the Sunshine Tour but is an important stepping stone for the country’s leading amateurs to elevate their games while rubbing shoulders with the professionals.

This is according to amateur Jordan Burnand who will be teeing it up in the second tournament of the season at Reading Country Club in Alberton. The Ebotse Golf Links player who is ranked fifth in the GolfRSA Open Amateur Rankings, is among five amateurs in the field and vying for glory at this R150 000 tournament. The other amateurs in the field are Kayle Wykes, Letsoso Letsai, Christopher Bagnalli and Amilkar Bhana who is ranked seventh in the under/19 GolfRSA rankings.

“The opportunities given to the top amateurs in the country are amazing,” Burnand said ahead of the opening round at Reading. “I think what GolfRSA, the Sunshine Tour and Big Easy are doing will go a long way in benefitting the amateur game in the country. It gives us the opportunity to compare our games against some of the best professionals locally. It’s fantastic!”

While Burnand admits that winning the experienced gained at these tournaments is worth more than victory itself, he is fully aware that having amateurs gracing the Altron Big Easy Tour winning circle is not an anomaly at all. Last season, Christiaan Maas was the first amateur to win silverware of this Sunshine Tour developmental circuit, before Casey Jarvis – who has since turned professional – also etched his name among the amateurs who caused upsets on this Tour.

“We take these opportunities very seriously,” said Bhana, “because we get to compete against a really strong field. Some amateurs have shown that it is possible to win here and that gives confidence to many of us to want to test ourselves against these pros. Opportunities like these allow us to grow our game.

“A win is always great and a win on this tour definitely opens doors for you but just being in the field with these players is something special. You always try to play your best and see what happens at the end of the week. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself because playing under pressure can be harmful to your progress. So, personally, I appreciate the Big Easy platform.”

The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with the aim of providing players with more playing opportunities while also giving amateurs a taste of professional golf.

“It is very important for us as a Tour and GolfRSA as a mother-body of amateur golf in the country to keep giving the youngsters opportunities to hone their skills,” said Altron Big Easy Tour Tournament Director, Ludwick Manyama. “The earlier they get used to competitive golf, the better they get in the development phase. In no time, these are the same players who will be looking to gain entry on the main Tour, and so, these opportunities are priceless.”

A total of nine amateurs have received invites in the first two tournaments of the season and more are guaranteed to receive such invites as the season progresses.