Brandon inspired by Clarke ahead of Simola

Sunshine Tour professional Brandon Pieters is one of many who have been inspired by the Open Championship victory of Darren Clarke.

And the Johannesburg golfer heads to Simola Golf Estate for this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament determined to regain the form he displayed on this series two years ago.

In 2009, Pieters became only the third golfer in the seven-year history of this series to win three tournaments in one season. Thomas Aiken was the first to do so, followed by Jean Hugo and then Pieters.

And one of those wins was the 2009 final at Simola.

“I love that layout. I think it is shaped really well. You’ve got to work the ball both ways, and it forces you to really think your way around the course. It’s like playing a game of chess against the course,” said Pieters, who has been struggling with his form of late.

“I don’t know what it is, but I’m just struggling to put three or four consistent rounds together.”

But Pieters said he has learnt a lot from the Open triumph of Clarke. Pieters first met Clarke in 2007, and he’s developed quite a friendship with the Northern Irishman, who has been generous in his giving of advice and time to help Pieters with his game.

“I think it’s awesome for Darren that at the age of 42 he can win his first major. It’s nice that somebody from outside of the usual pack won it,” said Pieters.

“If you think about it, he’s been a world-class golfer for 20 years before winning his first Major. It just shows how strange golf is. I’ve heard so many stories of pros wanting to give up the game and then winning the next week. It gives you hope when your game is off that it can change at any moment.”

And the fact that another major winner in Louis Oosthuizen was also a former champion on the Vodacom Origins of Golf series is further proof of how quickly that change can come.

This week’s tournament will also feature three South African cricket greats in Barry Richards, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, who will compete in the pro-am side of the tournament and do their bit for the Birdies for Kiddies campaign.

Through this campaign, the professionals and invited amateurs are rewarded for every birdie they make with a R500 donation by the sponsor to various children’s charities.

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