Graham van der Merwe has been off the course for the last few weeks and his relaxed attitude could be the secret to success at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour’s Royal Johannesburg and Kensington tournament, which starts Tuesday.
“I’ve been putting my feet up a little and maybe a break will help me to relax and play better. I’m not expecting a lot, and that’s often when you play well, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Van der Merwe carded 69 on the tougher East Course when the Big Easy Tour headed to Royal Johannesburg last year. He went on to finish tied for fourth in 2012, and this week he’ll look to improve on that result.
“Royal is my home course, so I suppose I don’t really have an excuse,” he laughed. “But the East course is all about ball striking, and it will punish you for bad shots, so my home advantage is not huge.”
The 22-year-old is headed for America next week, where he’ll scout the mini tour scene and have a look at qualifying school.
“I won’t even be taking my clubs over to The States,” he said. “I want to check out the mini tours, which are a great next step for me, and I’d like to see what’s happening with their qualifying school.”
When he racked up a top-10 finish at this year’s Tshwane Open, which is co-sanctioned by the European and Sunshine Tours, van der Merwe showed that he has the game to make it on the big stage. A win this week could prove a valuable step towards success.
Standing in his way is Paul Bradshaw, who shot rounds of 69 and 72 to finish sole third at last year’s Big Easy tournament at Royal Johannesburg. The 29-year-old will celebrate his 30th birthday on the27th of July, and a win this week would be the perfect birthday present.