Makgetha nostalgic ahead of Big Easy Observatory

Makgetha Mazibuko shot four rounds in the 60s at Observatory Golf Club in January to secure his playing card for 2013. He’ll tee it up with fond memories this week as he heads for the Observatory leg of the Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage.

The last time he played at Observatory was at Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School, where he dominated the competition. Mazibuko won by 10 shots and claimed the first of 15 tour cards on offer to previously disadvantaged players. The trick then was to set a target and chase it, and no doubt he’ll do the same again during this week’s R100,000 tournament, which starts on Tuesday.

“I set myself a target,” said the 25-year-old from Bloemfontein, “and then I aim to do better than that if I get close.”

The course lends itself to straight hitters of the ball, and placement on the green is crucial in order to score. Few know this as well as Mazibuko, who added : “I’m confident when I get over the ball. I just pick a spot and rip it there.”

The Harrismith Country Club representative has grown his game in many ways since turning professional in 2011, and there are few better places for him to compete than the scene of his first win, albeit a qualifying school victory.

“I’ve practiced hard, and I wanted to build on what I learned in the few events I played on the Sunshine Tour last year,” he said. “Now I want to be competitive.”

The field is full of players with good scoring records at Observatory. Jeff Inglis broke the course record with an opening 62 at Big Easy Observatory last year, but ended up coming second to Ryan Cairns. He’ll surely look to amend that loss this year.

Also in action are Big Easy winners Thabang Simon, Johan Bekker and Toto Thimba, all of whom took top-10s at Observatory last year.

The Big Easy has produced its strongest fields yet during 2013 and it will take really low scores to win at Observatory this week. Mazibuko knows just how to go deep around the 6428-metre layout and will surely be in contention come Wednesday’s final round.

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