GEORGE NEWS - Morné Tome couldn't help flashing his fellow amateurs a large, toothy smile as he and professional Jake Redman crossed the stage at the amateur prize-giving of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Simola Country Club.
Oudtshoorn amateur Morne Tome (left) and his professional partner, Jake Redman from George (right) receive their prizes from Tony Smallwood, the Vodacom Executive Head: Indirect Sales Channel, during the prize-giving at the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Simola Country Club in Knysna. Picture: Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour.
Two days earlier, Tome had never heard of Redman. But after two days of superb dovetailing at Simola Country Club, the pair picked up the first prize in the 36-hole amateur competition with a landslide victory.
And while the Oudtshoorn amateur claimed the first spot for the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at the Fancourt Links in September, Redman took a two shot lead into the final round, courtesy of a 69 and a superb eight-under-par 64.
Zimbabwean Ryan Cairns won his second Sunshine Tour title this season when he eagled the first play-off hole at Simola Country Club to win the Vodacom Origins of Golf's professional title.
"One of the exciting features of the series is that the professionals' names are drawn and the amateurs get to pick their partners," Tome explained.
"The higher ranked and more well-known pros are usually snapped up early, but since I didn't have a clue who to pick, I went with a friend's recommendation and waited for Jake Redman's name."
Tome said he had quite a wait for Redman's name to come up.
"I'd never met him, but we just clicked from the word go."
In fact, the pair combined for 94 points to finish four points clear of their nearest challengers. And now Tome is the one laughing.
"The guys joked that I'd picked a rank outsider, but Jake actually turned out to be the dark horse of the tournament," said Tome.
Tome is quite excited at the prospect of challenging at Fancourt for the chance to play a round of golf with two-time US Open winner, Retief Goosen, whose career and his contribution to golf is being celebrated in this year's series, dubbed "The Goose Chase".
"It will be a bun fight come September because everyone will play to win to play with Goose," said Tome.
The pair also contributed 20 birdies to Vodacom's ongoing Birdies for Kiddies campaign.
This year, the charity effort (which raised more than R3-million last year) will see sponsors Vodacom donate 100 meals for every birdie scored during each of the six Vodacom Origins of Golf tournaments.
The recipients are five organisations that care for abandoned, orphaned, malnourished and abused children, including African Children's Feeding Scheme (ACFS), Project Noah, New Beginnings, Ndlovu Medical Trust and the WMCA.
Sunshine Tour rookie Ruan de Smidt aced the 17th hole during Wednesday's first round and was thrilled to learn that his hole-in-one significantly boosted the campaign.
Tome will be joined at Fancourt by the nine other amateurs in the top 10, including Dayalan Chinsammy, Rory Scott, Guy Mourant, Cameron McCulloch, Garth Webster, Jacques du Plessis, Charles Greig, Marco dos Santos and Richard Jansen, who snuck in on an 86 points count-out with Boland professional, Keenan Davidse.