Since winning the Sunshine Big Easy TourÂs 2011 Modderfontein tournament, Morne Buys has reached many new heights, but his title defence this week will be uncharted territory.
The 34-year-old has made the cut in his last three appearances on the main tour and must draw upon those experiences if he wants to once again claim the lionÂs share of the R100 000 prize fund.
Buys carded a second-round 67 en route to his victory last year. It was the best round of the tournament showed that he had some real class. Birdies at the 16th and 17th were the closing highlights of his charge down the stretch, which he raced through in 32 strokes on his way to a two-shot victory over Johan Etsebeth.
Victory at Modderfontein proved to be the confidence boost he needed, and Buys has since played his way into the spotlight on several occasions Â most notably at the Telkom PGA Championship, where he carded consecutive 65s on his way to a share of fifth.
The Crown Mines Country Club professionalÂs path into professional golf is an interesting one Â he reluctantly agreed to play his first-ever round after a group of friends insisted, and on the day shot an incredible 85. The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite having come a long way since that first round, Buys must overcome strong competitors at Modderfontein, not least of whom are 2011 Big Easy Tour champion Louis Calitz and 2012 Houghton winner Toto Thimba, Jnr.
A danger man in the field is Jeff Inglis, the only player to match BuysÂ 67 last year. Inglis comes off a hot streak at Observatory Golf Club a fortnight ago, where he shot 62 and set a new course record.
Buys, however, is a far more mature golfer since his victory last year, and, with extra experience under his belt, will be looking for a new accolade Â a successful title defence.