DB World Tour, not DP!
If the secret to sporting success involves seizing those rare golden opportunities when they raise their heads, then Wakefield’s Dan Bradbury has catapulted himself from the back of the crowd to golf’s top table. Week one of the DP World Tour 2023 schedule saw twin events with the Australian PGA in Brisbane and the Joburg Open in South Africa. With a number of big names taking a breather after a gruelling year – the 2022 schedule only finished the previous week – the recent Florida State University Masters student and world no. 1,397 was gifted a surprise sponsor’s exemption. Seize the day? The 23- year-old grabbed his chance by the throat and squeezed the life out of it, delivering a wire-to-wire victory around Houghton Golf Club in Johannesburg, his closing 67 wrapping up a -21 tourna- ment and 3-stroke win over Finn Sami Valimaki. If the £135,000 first prize was a gift from the Gods, a two-year tour exemption and roll-up at this summer’s Open Championship at Hoylake is the nectar to toast his good fortunes. As the affable Wakefield Golf Club member said afterwards: “I don’t know what to say other than this is completely life-changing. “I got nowhere in Q- school, not even past the first stage, and without this I would have nowhere to play. “But now, in the space of a week, I have a card on the DP World Tour. Incredible! It’s just so much pressure taken off my back.”
Pressure from LIV Golf means DP World Tour players are now also guaranteed £140,000 if they take part in 15 events, so the financial pressure is off for now. “Hopefully I make the most of it,” he added. “I brought my mum [Sandra] because her boss said she could take the week off, but my dad had to stay home to look after my sister’s dogs. I thought it would only be a week away, but now I’m in next week [the South African Open] and I haven’t any clothes left. These are good problems to have.” The boost to the confidence of a newly crowned tour winner seems clear to see. Bradbury picked up cheques in the South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship, making the cut but finishing well down the field. At the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi however, his fortunes were literally up and down – and then simply ace! An excellent second round of -5 saw him safely through to the weekend, but he gave them all back the next day to sit last of the remaining players. Out in the first group on Sunday, he ended up -3 to bank a healthy €23,000, but more importantly he holed his tee-shot at the 17th with a six iron from 201 yards to secure the keys to a beautiful new Genesis car worth sig- nificantly more! It was his fifth ace in total, but first in a tournament. He said: “I hit a great shot on the 16th and made a nice birdie there. Going out first on a Sunday, you’ve just got to make the birdies. I saw the pin over there and jokingly said ‘I’ll go for the car’. I just hit a great shot and don’t think I could have hit it any better. “The car’s amazing. The shuttles that we’ve had this week for the hotel, they’ve been Genesis and they’re superb. They’re really, really nice cars. So it’s nice to hold the key right here.” From there it was onto the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, where a second round -9 63 put him out with eventual winner Rory McIlroy for the weekend. He started the last round in joint second place, but a disappointing +4 left him in the middle of the field alongside fellow Tykes Marcus Armitage and Dan Gavins. And while Gavins won the next week in the UAE, Bradbury again made the cut.