As reported by acclaimed golf writer – Grant Winter :

David Ashley

David Ashley

Gary Daoust

Gary Daoust

RANDPARK’S impressive revamped Firethorn golf course received the thumbs up from the players in the first round of the IGT Tour’s 54-hole Tour Bound Academy Classic.

“Really good golf course, really good greens which require plenty of attention because of the slope, and some challenging tee-shots,” said 20-year-old Gary Daoust who shares the first round lead on 69 alongside fellow amateur David Ashley and professional Jacques de Villiers.

Daoust took up golf in Belgium when his parents moved there and played for the national team. He then relocated to the US and after winning a bunch of tournaments there in his late teens, earned himself a golf scholarship at Kansas University as a result and has just completed his first year. He’s on vacation now and this is his first IGT start.

Five years ago Ashley’s family relocated  to the UK and he played the English amateur circuit before hanging up his clubs about a year ago. “Then I came back to South Africa for my brother’s wedding and had this social game just before Christmas, and I realised how much I missed competing.”

The 22-year-old then began working with teaching professional Andre Louw and his game took off, followed by victory in the IGT Tour’s summer swing event at ERPM in February.

“When I gave up golf, I really didn’t believe I had what it takes but Andre changed my mind.

“And the IGT Tour is the perfect platform for a guy like me, looking to build form and confidence.”

The IGT is the country’s top development tour with events almost every week throughout the year. Tour commissioner is Cois du Plooy who says: “We cater for both male and female amateurs and professionals and strive to provide a competitive platform for players to develop, improve, acclimatise to the pro environment and to make an educated decision about their future.”