Darren Fichardt's place atop the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit this year
not only secured him a spot in the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge but also
entrenched his status as one of the most consistent performers on the local
circuit since he turned professional in 1994.
Fichardt ranks tied 10th in all-time victories on the
Sunshine Tour with his 13 titles. And his four wins on the European Tour have
confirmed his global potential.
Fichardt was born in Pretoria and he attended Sutherland High School in Centurion, where he now lives. He turned professional in 1994, his first year out of school. His local breakthrough came in the 1997 Bearing Man
Highveld Classic, where he beat Sean Pappas by a
He has gone on to win consistently on the Sunshine Tour as well as claiming the Order of Merit in the 1999/2000 and 2003/2004 seasons.
Fichardt's international breakthrough came when he won the 2001 Sao
Paulo Brazil Open on the European Tour. He followed this up with a win in the
2003 Qatar Masters, beating fellow South African James Kingston in a playoff.
But while he continued to win on the Sunshine Tour, Fichardt experienced
a nine-year drought of victories on the European Tour. He ended this with a win
in the 2012 Saint-Omer Open.
Fichardt travels with
his wife, Natasha, who is a trained sports psychologist and is often the key to
victory for her husband. One of the highlights of his career was partnering
Retief Goosen in the 2000 World Cup of Golf.
But teeing it up in
the exclusive 30-man field of the Nedbank Golf Challenge is definitely a new
"It means a lot. Growing
up, this is Africa's Major, and when I was watching golf as a young boy it was
always the Nedbank Golf Challenge that caught my eye. It's a great honour to be
able to play in it," said Fichardt.
The Gary Player
Country Club golf course also suits his game, with Fichardt winning the 2004
Dimension Data Pro-Am there.
"I love the golf
course. You have to hit it straight and you have to putt well, which is my
game. I think it's going to be a very exciting week."