Golf | 11 Oct 2017
West Coast golfer claims second Sanlam Cancer Challenge title
West Coast golfer De Villiers Uys of Xamarin Country Club in Lambert’s Bay successfully defended his Sanlam Cancer Challenge title at the Gary Player Country Club this week during the 25th playing of the Sanlam Cancer Challenge National Final.
Uys was four points back but managed to overhaul former Sunshine Tour pro and first-round leader Schalk van der Merwe, from Namibia’s Gobabis Golf Club, with an excellent round that included four birdies and just four bogeys. Uys finished six points ahead of Van der Merwe and Saga Reddy of Umkomaas Golf Club.
“Today was the best round I’ve played, definitely on a championship course like this. Schalk is a seriously good player, he has some skill, he really made me think out there and I’m privileged to be able to finish on top again, in my third visit to the Sanlam Cancer Challenge.
“This is such an important event because people with cancer need our support and if anyone needs help, you have no choice, you have to support them, it’s part of being human,” said Uys, who became emotional when asked about how cancer has touched his own life.
Joyce Hughes of Dainfern Country Club succeeded in making her second visit to the National Finals a winning one, as she claimed the women’s crown at Sun City.
Young Nicola Schoeman, who led by four points after the first round played at the Lost City Golf Course, double-bogeyed the notorious ninth hole, her last, at the Gary Player Country Club, allowing Hughes to snatch the win as she registered a brilliant par.
“Nicola was five ahead of me so I assumed I had no chance and just went out to enjoy the course, which was in beautiful condition. But it was nerve-wracking playing our last hole because I had a very long shot on to the green with water all around, so I was thrilled when it landed safely and I was able to make par,” a beaming Hughes said after finishing with 75 points, one ahead of Schoeman.
Hughes had her own reasons to feel emotional over her thrilling win.
“I first entered the Sanlam Cancer Challenge to support their cause because I believe they do an amazing job. They do so much for those who are suffering from cancer. My mom, my sister and my uncle all passed away due to cancer and my brother Douglas is currently undergoing cancer treatment. So this win is extra special and I dedicate it to Douglas, who is fighting this disease right now,” Hughes said.
Francois Venter of Woodhill Country Club in Pretoria described it as “my lucky day” as he won the B Section for his first win on his eighth attempt at the Sanlam Cancer Challenge National Finals, while Veronica Tredoux, a 69-year-old Benoni Lake Golf Club member who teaches Afrikaans in Tembisa, said she was ready to retire now after winning the women’s B Section on her first visit to the finals after entering her club competition for every one of the Sanlam Cancer Challenge’s 25 years.
While there are around 100 lucky participants in the National Finals, about 40 000 golfers are involved in the club competitions all over South Africa and Namibia and the Sanlam Cancer Challenge has already raised 121 percent more than their R3.5 million target for 2017, currently sitting on R4.25 million, with the money going towards the fight against cancer, both in terms of supporting sufferers and research.
And that’s obviously what is most important for the golfers.
“I lost two sisters through cancer and the work done by the Sanlam Cancer Challenge is just fantastic. All the money raised is wonderful and we are all privileged to take part. I absolutely loved the time at Sun City, it was fantastic and all done so nicely,” was the parting comment of a satisfied Venter.