16 Mar 2020

Brandon Stone – ‘South African golfing community is fantastic’

When Branden Grace picked up the South African Open in January he added his name to a plethora of South African stars to have won their home open including Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuzien. Another name to add to that list is Brandon Stone, who picked up his first European Tour win at Glendower Golf Club in 2016, and has gone on to win twice more including a maiden Rolex Series triumph at the 2018 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

“The South African Open has always been a prestigious event, especially from a South African point of view,” said Stone, reflecting on Branden Grace’s win. “Obviously Branden and Louis Oosthuizen had a fantastic shootout on the Sunday and with Branden playing the round that he did – a 62 in the final round – with only 22 putts doesn’t get much better. As a past South African Open winner I can say it’s a fantastic feeling to win your National Open. It’s like a fifth Major and I feel privileged to have won it so young and so early in my career.”

Stone narrowly missed out on on a fourth European Tour title at the Oman Open earlier this month after losing to Sami Välimäki on the third play-off hole at Al Mouj Golf, Muscat. Just a couple of weeks before he had appeared at the Challenge Tour’s and Sunshine Tour’s co-sanctioned Dimensions Data Pro-Am where compatriot Christiaan Bezeidenhout won. It was his second worldwide triumph in the space of eight months and Stone was quick to point out how strong the South African contingent are looking.

“South African golf has always been quite prominent in the global game when you think back to Ernie and Retief winning Majors and now guys like Louis, Charl Scwhartzel and Branden are playing on the PGA Tour,” he said. “Now you have the young guys coming through like Erik van Rooyen, Haydn Porteus, myself, Christiaan, and Justin Walters. All these guys are competing all over the world with the best players in the world. So South Africa has had a long history of producing world class golfers and I think the trend is only going to go up. There’s a lot of talent come through as we speak and I think there’s going to be a lot in the European Tour in the not too distant future.”

“Obviously Christiaan and Erik had fantastic seasons last year and Erik getting into The Masters is amazing for him. Jayden Scaper finished in the top ten as an amateur in the South African Open so he’s one to look out for and there’s Wilco Nienabar who is playing on the Challenge Tour this year. There’s lots of potential and guys with ambition who are working hard so I think there’s going to be a strong presence of South Africans in the game for years to come.” – Brandon Stone

“All the guys on Tour are close. Our community is fantastic and we all get along, play practise rounds together and you have a real mix of young guys who are quite new to tour life and there’s guys who have been out here a while like George Coetzee and Richard Sterne who I’m trying to learn from still. I’ve been out here five years now so soon I might be a veteran guy like them.”

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