5th February 2018 | Sunshine Tour
MJ Vijoen seeks to build momentum at Eye of Africa
Despite going into last season’s edition of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship – where he finished in a share of fifth – with no expectations at all, MJ Viljoen, in his best season so far on tour, says victory is his only objective when he tees off on Thursday.
“I’ve been playing good golf,” said Viljoen of his finish there last year. “I wasn’t expecting anything, really, but I knew I could get a good score that week. My hybrids were on song and I was putting really nice. So, I’m definitely looking forward to this year and if I can win one more tournament, why not?”
He is radiating confidence because, unlike his previous three years on tour, the 2017-18 season has been fruitful for the 21-year-old Bloemfontein Golf Club professional. A win at Sun Fish River Sun Challenge, two top-10s and a pair of top-20s along with a few other decent results have seen Viljoen sitting nicely on 25th on the Order of Merit.
That win was more than just about lifting a trophy for Viljoen, it was a dream come true. “I had been playing Fish River since I was 14 years old,” he said. “Although I was not expecting to win, I was always looking forward to playing there because I knew that I would win there one day. It lifted my confidence so much for the remaining events.”
And that confidence showed because despite missing four cuts after that win, Viljoen went on to claim a top-10 at Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Simola. But the cherry on top were the cuts he made at Joburg Open and BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.
“Making the cut at Joburg and SA Open was really positive for me,” Viljoen admitted, “it showed what I can do. I played to my full potential at those events. It was a special feeling to make those cuts and play the way that I played.”
But now he has to focus his attention on the task at hand, and that is to improve on the results he got at Eye of Africa last year. Rounds of 65-69-70-72 handed him a 12-under-par finish alongside Ross McGowan and Christiaan Bezuidenhout to share fifth.
“Every guy plays their own way,” he said of how one can get low scores at Eye of Africa. “This course lets you play the way you want but you must always get your distances right. The lines from the tee box can be tricky sometimes but the main thing, I think, is getting your distances right and you will be fine around here.”
Viljoen, however, is looking for something more than fine.