A true Champion!
I have had the pleasure of meeting and playing with many top Tour Professionals in my day, but I never played with any of them more than with John Bland. You see, he loved the great game of golf, and really didn’t care who he shared the fairway with! I met him at Fancourt when I arrived in SA in 1991 and watched him compete on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour until he was eligible for the Senior Tours at 50.
In those closing years in his 40s, he represented Fancourt, a relationship that carried on through his Senior Tour career. Funny thing – he flew our flag for nothing! I gave him some Bobby Jones shirts, the best shirt in the game and he managed to keep them tucked in (most of the time). Before I left Fancourt, the Plattners thanked John with a proper gift for all that he had done for the Estate.
When John and Sonja got together, she forced a change in his attitude about women and golf. She came with some good German down-the-line firmness and a game of golf to go with it. John had previously recommended that women should be allowed to play “every second Tuesday of the week”.
John supported golf at every level. If I had a need, maybe a charity day or something special, he was there; no questions asked. Here we opened the short course at Sedgefield.
Final leader board:
John Bland -6 (102); Roger Wessels -2 (106); Titch Moore Even (E) (108); Altus Kapp +2 (110); Heinrich Bruiners +2 (110); Peter Berman +5 (113); Carlo Kok +6 (114); Jayde Tannous +8 (116); Roelof Roelofse +9 (117); Adam McKinlay +10 (118); Cliff Barnard +14 (122)
from the tour…
In a professional career that spanned more than 40 years, he didn’t compete in the U.S. until turning 50 but quickly proved his mettle with five senior titles and more than $7 million in earnings. He won in his second start as a Monday Qualifier, earning exempt status for a year and went on to be named Senior PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1996 after winning four times and finishing third on the money list. Some of his best duels were with Jim Colbert, who finished second to Bland in four of his five victories on the circuit. Bland also won three times on the European Senior Tour.
Blandie is survived by his wife, Sonja, three children – John-Mark, Bonney and Candice – and four grandchildren. He died with family and bulldog Handsome by his side.
The Sunshine Tour said Bland was “one of the most loved and respected South African Sportsmen.”
REST IN PEACE PETER BRADFIELD
We also mourn the loss of a friend and Links member and resident, Peter Bradfield, one of the kindest gentle people whom we had the pleasure to welcome to the Links 7 years ago when he and his lovely wife Leigh decided to root in our beautiful St Francis Bay.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with Leigh and their children Justin, Kelvin and Peyton, as well as Peter’s sister Mel, her husband Rian and their beautiful girls. Together with family and friends, they celebrated Peter’s life today and the eulogy by his mentor and friend Mickey Webb was truly a beautiful tribute to a gentle person of note.
To Peter, we say thank you for being the good man you were and we will all look out for Leigh and the family you loved so much.
Great Golfing Week
Stars for the week
Not quite an ace! Kirsten Viljoen retrieved her ball from the hole at 17 after making a three. Sadly, the hole-out came after a lost ball from the tee. It was an incredibly good finish to the hole. Take pleasure in making a 1 with your second ball.
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