GAUTENG, South Africa – The Sunshine Tour season has entered its final stretch as the BMG Classic starts Friday at the Glendower Golf Club.
This week, the 54-hole event offers a purse of US$87,400 – an increase of US$14,500 over last year.
Sunshine Tour commissioner Gareth Tindall said the increase underlines the longevity and strength of one of the longest standing sponsors on the tour.
“Our relationship has grown tremendously over the years and will no doubt continue for many to come,” said Tindall of the engineering firm. “The Bearing Man Group has certainly helped shape golf in this country, and they are true to their slogan of being ‘Part of the Process.’
“A prize money increase of this magnitude and in the current economic climate is a wonderful endorsement of their support and the growth of the Sunshine Tour.”
The rewards only get better in the weeks ahead: Two lucrative tournaments – Alfred Dunhill Championship and SA Open – are coming up in December, which together represent over US$2.5 million in prize money.
This week’s field features several 2010 winners, including Darren Fichardt, Warren Abery, victor at last week’s Nashua Masters, and Jean Hugo, a three-time winner this season. Doug McGuigan returns as the 2008 champion in this event.
Last year, Canadian Graham DeLaet fired a final-round 64 and held off challenges from Jacques Blaauw, Oliver Bekker and Jeff Inglis for his first win on the Sunshine Tour.
But DeLaet won’t be in South Africa this week; he’s enjoying success on the U.S. PGA Tour in his rookie campaign. The 2009 PGA Tour Q-school graduate has recorded three top-10s in 2010, including a T-3 finish at the Houston Open.