Durbanites ‘dig’ local challenge at Nelson Mandela Championship

The Sunshine Tour’s final event of the year plays out in Durban and local players like Bryce Easton were ‘stoked’ to tee up in their home town.


“It’s always good to be at home. I think all of us appreciate being able to sleep in our own beds, wake up and go to a tournament. It is a slightly different vibe, though. It’s a bit strange being able to sleep at home and go to play a golf tournament, but it’s enjoyable at the same time,” he said.


Easton – along with Warren Abery, Michael Hollick, Jared Harvey, Keith Horne and Garth Mulroy – hails from Durban and this week at Mount Edgecombe Country Club they have the home-ground advantage. Being on the road for most of the year is one of the difficulties of playing professional golf and the Nelson Mandela Championship is a welcome change for the local competitors.


“I’m trying to finish the year with a good week,” said Easton. “I’ve had a tough stretch of a few months and it hasn’t quite happened for me yet, but the game feels like it’s there. It’s a matter of doing it on the course, so hopefully these good vibes from being here in Durban will allow me to put it all out there.”


For a young player like Harvey, whose father has been with the club for 20 years, it presents a great opportunity to compete on a track he knows well. (Pictured right in a photographic tribute at the club)


“My dad was the professional here in the 1990’s and he’s currently the coach at the range. Mount Edgecombe holds a lot for me and I won the South African Amateur here in 2011. It would mean the most to me if I play well here and if I had to choose a place, I’d like it to be this one,” he said.


Hollick lives in a house behind the first green and has been a member for 17 years, so the ability to climb out of bed and head straight onto the course is special for the 26-year-old.


“It’s nice to be at home and wake up in my own bed. I can drive the golf cart down to the course and it’s probably going to feel like a social round. I know the course well, so it will be nice to play a tournament at home. It’s weird to see everything so busy around the course, but I’m sure there will be a lot of family and friends out here,” he said.


The last time Mulroy played Mount Edgecombe was in his teens, but the memories come back quickly and his affinity with the local players is still strong.


“I talk to Bryce Easton quite a bit and I played a practice round with him here last week. Hopefully the locals will be there at the end of it,” he said.


Easton, with true Durban flair, capped off the local sentiment for the week.


“We played all of these courses, because Durbs is not the biggest place. I dig the chilled vibe here in Durban man, but I’d just like the sun to come out now.”


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