The RE/MAX World Long Drive qualifying event held at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Monday 3 September was filled with action as Rynardt Combrinck’s long standing Southern African Long Drive record of 435.2 metres was smashed several times during the day, a fitting pinnacle to mark the 15th anniversary of the event here in Southern Africa.
A relative newcomer to the sport, having only been competing for a year, Leon Peyper hit a distance of 443.7 metres during the earlier stages and later broke his own record by posting a drive of 444.8 metres later in the day. RE/MAX Long Drive first-timer, Stefan Schlimmer hit a remarkable shot of 438.4 metres to finish with the third best shot of the day. However, it was long-time competitor Nico Grobbelaar who blasted one past everyone with a distance of 462.9 metres, clinching the new RE/MAX Southern Africa Long Drive Championship record. The 30 year-old Nico has been competing in RE/MAX World Long Drive events since 2007 and although a regular in the National Final, has never managed to secure a win. Could 2012 be his year?
Although there were only 23 participants at the event, between them they managed to hit 140 sets, which in itself is a record for the number of sets completed during a qualifying event.
The day’s final results were as follows:
1st Nico Grobbelaar 462.9 metres New RE/MAX South African record
2nd Leon Peyper 444.8 metres (was the record)
3rd Stefan Schlimmer 438.4 metres (was the record)
4th Lumar Fourie 430.6 metres
5th Jason Cook 423.3 metres
The remaining qualifying events are expected to be just as exciting with several of the regular Long Drive competition enthusiasts having not yet qualified for this year’s final. There are still two more qualifying events which will be held on Friday, 7 September between 9h30 and 17h00 and a last minute qualifying event on Saturday, 8 September 2012 between 09h30 and 12h00. Both of these qualifying events will be held at the Copper Leaf Golf and Country Estate. The top four competitors from each of this year’s qualifying events will take part in the final which will be held on Saturday after the last qualifying round has been completed.
“The top long drivers from the national competition will then join long drivers from 30 other countries to represent Southern Africa at the 2012 international RE/MAX World Long Drive event held in the US later this year. Given the incredible standard of competition we have already seen, there is no doubt that the Southern African contingent will do us proud,” says Peter Gilmour, Chairman of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.