1st February 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Makhetha aims to better previous PGA finish
Despite struggling for form in the last 10 events, Makhetha Mazibuko says he is determined to better the second-place finish he got in last season’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship and that he hopes the good memories he has of the course come in handy when he tees off next week.
“Last season’s finish was a confidence-booster for me,” Mazibuko said. “After I shot 73 in the first round, my coach Betty Mokoena, said to me ‘Tiger (Woods) wins tournaments with an over-par score, you can do it too’, and that motivated me for the following rounds. So, I just want to see if I can’t do it again or better.”
Rounds of 73-66-65 and 68 catapulted Mazibuko to a share of the lead with Dylan Frittelli and eventual winner, Erik van Rooyen who claimed this title on the first play-off hole after all three finished 16-under in regulation. The new season, however, proved to be challenging for the man who was once dubbed ‘The Original Playstation’ by the visiting Scots he played as an amateur.
Six missed cuts in 20 events underlined what was not a great season for the Bloemfontein Golf Club professional and after some introspection and work with his coach, Mazibuko says he is ready to do battle once more. “Last year I struggled from tee to green,” he said.
“I was averaging about five greens per round which was not good. But, my coach worked with me and now I average nine to 11, and she has been a lot of help.”
Now, going into a week filled with good memories, Mazibuko is aware of the dangers and the opportunities which lie ahead as he seeks to go one better come next weekend. “That course is really nice,” he said.
“But my plan for the week will depend on the condition of the course. If the fairways are dry, then maybe I might use my driver more but if not, I will rely mostly on the irons. I am feeling good though because my short game which has been up and down is beginning to improve now. But I will see what the course looks like and take it from there.”
While Mazibuko’s finish at Eye of Africa last year was something of a fairy tale – he made a total of 23 birdies and an eagle that week – he knows that as a golfer, you’re as good as the last score you posted, and therefore he’s been working hard to improve.
“I have been doing a lot of gym,” he said, “jogging and trying out new things but I have not done a lot of work on the golf. I have done some chipping and putting here and there. Played 18 holes the other day but I just want to get my fitness back and lose some weight because I know mentally I will be sharper when I am fit physically.”
Whether he will be able to better the score he obtained here last season remains to be seen but one thing for certain, Mazibuko can cause an upset when his game is on song.