Easton promise in Joburg Open

Bryce Easton reckons his stuttering finish to the 2012 Sunshine Tour season has helped him get off to a good start in this week’s Joburg Open.

Easton, 25, found himself one off the pace in the opening round of the €1.3-million tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour after a career-first hole-in-one propelled him to a seven-under-par 65 on the tough Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East Course.

He was a rookie in 2011, during which he had a solid season with three top-10s – including a near-victory in the Northern Cape Classic.

His maiden victory came in 2012, when he won the Sun City Challenge in May on the Lost City course, and he quickly followed that with his second two weeks later in the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Zebula.

But the rest of the year tailed off somewhat, as he missed eight cuts and was eliminated in the first round of the ISPA Handa SA Match Play Championship.

“Last year it was nice to get a couple of wins, but at the end of the year in the bigger events I didn’t do much,” he said. “It was like I almost expected myself to do well.

“I think it was good for me, in a way, to miss the cuts by a couple here and there, and go back to the drawing board,” he added.

He didn’t play the Sunshine Tour’s 2013 season-opener Telkom PGA Pro-Am in Centurion as he attempted to gain his Asian Tour Card – and he only just missed out there: “I missed by one shot,” he said ruefully.

“There are a few things still wrong with my game,” he said after his opening round in the Joburg Open. “I missed a few fairways and I’ve got to figure out the driver a little bit, but I scored well. I wouldn’t say I flushed it, so we’ve got some work to do. It’s nice to have a round like that, where you don’t hit it great and still manage to put a good score together.”

And he was eagerly anticipating playing on the West Course for his second round, the easier of the two layouts at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington after his first competitive round on the intimidating East. “I know the West Course a bit better than the East, so I am looking forward to it,” he said.

“But, in general, I’m looking forward to this year very much and hopefully I’ll play consistently and compete consistently in the bigger events,” he added.

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