It might have been the five-iron which brought Bryce Easton his first victory, but his five-wood has been the go-to club in his bag during the Telkom PGA Championship.
Easton fired a six-under-par 66 on Saturday to climb into contention for a top-10 finish in the R3.75-million Sunshine Tour tournament being played on the Woodmead layout of Country Club Johannesburg.
His five-iron brought him two successive eagles on the Lost City course as he won last year’s Sun City Challenge in a play-off, and he eagled the 520-metre 16th on his way to his 66 on Saturday.
“The five-wood is my favourite club in the bag,” he said, “and around here, I hit it all day into the par-fives. Obviously to have a chance for eagle and knowing that you’ve pretty much got a birdie in the bag is quite comforting.”
Easton won twice in 2012, finishing 37th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, but, besides a share of 14th in the Joburg Open, it has been a frustrating 2013 for the 25-year-old from Durban as he missed cuts in the Africa Open, the Dimension Data Pro-Am and the Tshwane Open.
“I’m just trying to stich with the process, I guess,” he said. “I’m trying to stay patient, and I’m starting to make a few putts.”
His two wins have given him the latitude to be patient, as the victories came with two years’ exemption on the Sunshine Tour. “The first thing was to get exempt,” he said, “and it’s now trying to compete in these events – and then try to compete on other tours, and just keep growing.”
His third round was a big step forward after the last month. “I played pretty well all day,” he said. “I had one bogey which was a three-putt, ironically enough, because I putted well.
“It was a step in the right direction, and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow,” he added.