He’s had a lean patch lately, but Sun City Challenge defending champion Bryce Easton is relying on good memories of the Lost City Golf Club to give him the kind of kick-start to his year that his maiden win brought him last year.
Easton took his first title in a dramatic four-way play-off last year, and, a fortnight later, he had his second under his belt when he won the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Zebula.
He started 2013 in a satisfactory manner, with a share of 14th in the Joburg Open. But the rest of his Sunshine Tour season has been characterised by just two top-10 finishes and six missed cuts – interspersed, however, with a brilliant second-place finish in the Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand on the Asian Tour.
That performance sees him still inside the top 20 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, but he wants to do some repair work on his 41st position on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit this week.
“It hasn’t been going as well as I would have liked it to of late,” he admitted, “and I would definitely like something like what happened last year to spark it and get it going again.
“I’m not sure what the problem is to be honest. It’s just not happening for me out there. Last week, I played quite solidly from tee to green – I just need a couple of putts to go down. I guess I’ve just got to stick to what I’m doing. I’ve just got to grind it out, and it will come. That’s the nature of the game,” he added.
He will be up against some players in pretty hot form: Jacques Blaauw made his professional breakthrough with victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Simola on June 5, and he won again last week, closing down the final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Selborne with a flawless eight-under-par 64.
That kind of form is pretty irresistible, but Danie van Tonder offered it some stout resistance. His closing 66 was not enough to chase down Blaauw, but the 2012 Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year is close to his maiden win, and looking more determined every week.
And Merrick Bremner looked for all money to have the title at Selborne locked down after he opened with a nine-under 63, but he couldn’t close the deal with his final-round two-under-par 70. That’s not going to happen too often as he hones his game ahead of a crack at the European Tour’s Qualifying School at the end of the year.
But Easton has the comfort of the memories of his exploits on the 18th at the Lost City last year: He made eagle there in regulation play after bogeying 17 to force his way into the play-off with Andrew Georgiou, Allan Versfeld and Brandon Pieters.
And then he repeated the feat to win the play-off. “It sets up nicely for me,” he recalled. “It suits my eye and my little fade. It’s a hole I can play aggressively. I hope it doesn’t come down to having to go eagle-eagle again, but it’s nice to know I can do that!”