Last year, Brandon Pieters played with new clubs to win the R600,000 BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club, and he will attempt to defend his title this year with a new swing.
This year, Pieters has been working on his swing as he looks for a fifth title during a year which has been lean by his standards.
The 35-year-old Benoni Lake Club professional beat EnglandÂs Ben Mannix on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after the pair finished deadlocked on 11-under-par 205 after regulation play.
He had his clubs stolen from his home two weeks before the event, and the only clubs he had left were non-conforming, so he had to get a new set from his sponsors Ping before playing.
MannixÂs tee shot for the first playoff hole went into the trees on the left, and he had too much to do after his approach raced 30 feet past the pin. He three-putted and Pieters had a tap-in for par to take the victory and his fourth Sunshine Tour title.
ÂIÂve been tinkering a bit with my posture with my coach John Dixon over the last two or three months,Â said Pieters. ÂIt looks simple, but I am hoping to put it all together soon.Â
There were signs that it was bedding down when he finished in a share of third in last monthÂs Platinum Classic presented by UD Trucks, with rounds of 66, 67 and 69 as Hennie Otto pulled away to win.
But he missed the cut at last weekÂs Suncoast Classic: ÂThe problem is you tend to go back to old habits when youÂre under pressure on the course,Â he said. ÂBut IÂve had form in one or two events recently.Â
But Glendower is a course that all the Sunshine Tour professionals really like, so Pieters is looking forward to his attempt at defending his title. ÂItÂs really a good course, and, although I havenÂt played it yet for this yearÂs tournament, IÂve heard that it is in even better shape than it was last year,Â he said.
He finds himself up against some players who are sublime form, too. ÂJean Hugo is a money making machine on the tour,Â he said of the man who has won three times and finished in the top 10 on six other occasions on the 2011 Sunshine Tour.
ÂAnd the reality is anyone can win on our tour on any given week,Â he added.
One of those is Darren Fichardt, who has two wins and seven top-10s this season.
ÂThey are amongst the regulars IÂll be watching most closely,Â said Pieters, Âbut IÂm looking forward to defending.Â