Golf | 10 Oct 2017 | By Michael Vlismas

Former golf pro leads Sanlam Cancer Challenge National Finals at Sun City

Anthony Sher, David Matshabela, Schalk van der Merwe – first round leader - and Richard Rice during the first round of the Sanlam Cancer Challenge Finals 2017 held at The Lost City Golf Course in Sun City. | Photo by Shaun Roy / SPORTZPICS

A round featuring 11 pars, two birdies and six dropped shots was enough to get former Sunshine Tour pro Schalk van der Merwe to the top of the leaderboard at the 25th Sanlam Cancer Challenge National Final being held at Sun City, giving Namibia some boasting rights over their hosts as he plays out of Gobabis Golf Club.

The women’s field in the are chasing a 16-year-old from Middelburg Country Club as Nicola Schoeman stormed to a four-point lead after the first round at the Lost City Golf Course on Monday.

Schoeman, playing off a 12 handicap, grabbed a pair of juicy birdies on the third and fourth holes to give herself a great start, and she then birdied the last to finish with 41 points, comfortably clear of Lindley Meyer of Nelspruit Golf Club, East London Golf Club’s Tanya Louw and another Namibian, Marika Neethling from Walvis Bay Golf Club, who all had 37 points. 

“I didn’t expect this at all, I just went and played, I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself because this is the first time I have played in the tournament. I just wanted to play my own game and I enjoyed it very much, Sanlam have really spoilt us,” Schoeman said.

Trying to overtake Van der Merwe on 40 points - who played for a number of years on the Sunshine Tour and finished runner-up to Jean Hugo in the 2000 Western Cape Classic - presents a stiff challenge for two Pretoria golfers, Thomas Liebenberg of Silver Lakes Country Club, on 38 points, and Hendre Roode from Sandonia Golf Club, who is third on 37 points.

The good news for them is that Van der Merwe, who has a win and a second place in his two previous visits to the Sanlam Cancer Challenge, reckons his putter kept him on top of the leaderboard on Monday.

“As a former pro it’s a big privilege to play in this tournament, it’s my third time and I’ve always done well. I love it because I support the fight against cancer because my mother had breast cancer and I support Sanlam. The course was set up very friendly and was a bit short, which is good because I’m getting older now and can’t hit the ball as far. I’m just lucky that I made a few putts today,” the genial Namibian said.

It's been a fitting 25th celebration thus far for a competition that has grown from 100 clubs taking part in the first event in 1993 to over 400 clubs and 40 000 golfers supporting the tournament this year by participating and raising money for The Cancer Association of South Africa.

The one hundred golfers participating in the National Final will now move to the Gary Player Country Club for Tuesday’s final round.


Men’s overall – 40pts Schalk van der Merwe (Gobabis GC); 38pts Thomas Liebenberg (Silver Lakes CC); 37pts Hendre Roode (Sandonia GC); 36pts Roald Lassen (Parow GC), Obie Oberholzer (Heilbron GC), De Villiers Uys (Xamarin CC).

Men’s A Division – 40pts Schalk van der Merwe (Gobabis GC); 37pts Hendre Roode (Sandonia GC); 36pts Roald Lassen (Parow GC), De Villiers Uys (Xamarin CC); 35pts Jaco du Plessis (Volksrust GC), Saga Reddy (Umkomaas GC), Louis Mahne (Dolphins Creek Country Estate GC).

Men’s B Division – 36pts Obie Oberholzer (Heilbron GC); 34pts Francois Venter (Woodhill CC); 31pts Danie du Toit (Caledon GC), Andrew Manthe (Olivewood GC); 30pts Francois Roos (Meyerton GC), Ian Bloom (Goose Valley GC).

Men’s C Division – 38pts Thomas Liebenberg (Silver Lakes CC); 34pts Vinothan Govender (Chatsworth GC); 31pts Frederik Herselman (Kimberley GC); 30pts Johannes Labuschagne (Krugerpark Lodge GC), Arthur Percival (Mossel Bay GC).

Women’s overall – 41pts Nicola Schoeman (Middelburg CC); 37pts Lindley Meyer (Nelspruit GC), Tanya Louw (East London GC), Marika Neethling (Walvis Bay GC); 36pts Veronica Tredoux (Benoni Lake GC), Joyce Hughes (Dainfern CC).

Women’s A Division – 41pts Nicola Schoeman (Middelburg CC); 36pts Joyce Hughes (Dainfern CC); 35pts Sue Hipkin (Kloof CC); 32pts Martine Strasheim (Paarl GC), Shelley Daymond (Reading CC).

Women’s B Division – 37pts Tanya Louw (East London GC); 36pts Veronica Tredoux (Benoni Lake GC); 33pts Kim Uytenbogaardt (Parow GC); 32pts Mikah Poonawassy (Kimberley GC), Magdalene van der Walt (Greenside Colliery GC).

Women’s C Division – 37pts Lindley Meyer (Nelspruit GC), Marika Neethling (Walvis Bay GC); 32pts Gillian Hammond (St Francis Links GC); 31pts Cinteche du Plessis (Akasia CC); 28pts Mona Motjuwadi (Krugersdorp GC), Rentia Claassens (Bloemfontein GC).