Shaun Norris was not particularly satisfied after a 73 at the Millvale Private Retreat on Friday and a two-under-par 70 in the third round at the Lost City Golf Course didn’t exactly tickle his fancy, but finishing in a tie for eighth in the Investec Cup after moving day sure provoked a very broad smile.
“It took some hard graft at the end of 2014 to make sure I was in contention for the Investec Cup, but I got myself here and it’s so brilliant to be in contention again,” said the Silver Lakes pro.
A tie for eighth in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December netted Norris a payday worth almost R500,000 and buoyed by his performance at Leopard Creek, the 32-year-old secured a card for the 2015 Asian Tour a month later. “It finally feels like things are going my way,” Norris said.
Norris shot to fame when he lifted the Africa Open title in 2008, but three years would pass before he visited the winner’s circle again in the 2011 Nashua Masters.
“A few frustrating years followed and there were times that I felt I should call it a day,” Norris said.
“It was tough to stick it out. I finished the 2012 season in the top 20, but a year later, I ranked 87th on the final Order of Merit.
“As a family, we went through a really hard time while my dad was battling cancer in 2013 and into 2014, but once he came through the ordeal, I got my head back in the game.
“I don’t think I’ve played to my true potential. I messed around when I first joined the pro ranks and wasn’t really serious enough to contend, but I believe I’ve matured a lot in the last few years. I put in the hard graft now and it’s nice to see the work pay off.”
Norris opened with a one-under-par at Millvale and began the third round six strokes off the pace.
“It was another frustrating day,” said Norris, who interrupted a run of 15 pars with a bogey at the third, a birdie at the 11th and an eagle three at the par-five 18th.
“I just had to stay incredibly patient again. Nothing was really happening for me and the putter was ice cold. I hit a great drive down the 18th fairway and a nine-iron to eight foot and thought myself that this surely had to go in…it went straight down the throat, so that was a major relief.
“I don’t know if the putter will warm up tomorrow, but if I can exercise the same kind of patience, I could still finish in the top 10 and that would be good enough, too.”