11th September 2018 | Sunshine Tour
No pressure for MJ at Arabella
MJ Viljoen might feel that his game is not currently on the level he wants, but like the surprise win he pulled off at the windy Sun Fish River Challenge last season, he is determined to make the most of the similar conditions when he tees it up at this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella Country Club.
“I have been working on a couple of different things over the last couple of months,” he said. “The game is not really where it is supposed to be, but I am managing to make the cut here and there. I am kind of preparing myself for Europe; preparing myself to go there.”
Viljoen missed six cuts out of 12 starts this season, but he seems to have located the area of his struggles and is confident in his process. “I am just trying to get the head right and to get all the mental stuff in place before focusing on the playing itself again,” he said just after announcing his intentions to go to the European Tour qualifying school later on in the season.
“Well, from playing on the co-sanctioned events for the first time and now playing in all of them, really opened my eyes,” he said of what he expects in Europe, “and, it kind of taught me that you have to have a tough head to make it out there. I think the head game between the ears is kind of important to me now and getting everything in place before going to the big league,”
Indeed, the 23-year-old has learned a few things in the co-sanctioned events, having finished T30 at Joburg Open, 65th at the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni while missing the cut at the Tshwane Open. He would want to continue building on that experience.
After his maiden win at Fish River last year Viljoen is not feeling pressure, however, to add more wins to his name. “Actually, I don’t,” he said, “I feel I am at a good place now. I am sure if everything comes together in the next couple of weeks before I go, if I can pull one off, that would be nice, actually.”
One of his main goals for the season is an improved finish on the Order of Merit. “I do not really have a target for the Order of Merit, but it would be nice to beat myself from last year, get a top 20 or something. I hope to open some new doors going forward.”
Viljoen, like the 100 plus players in the field at Arabella this week, knows the real work will begin on Friday when the first group tees off and whatever his ambitions are, a solid finish in Kleinmond will be the only thing which matters come Sunday.