Ockie returns to the scene of his biggest success

Ockie Strydom had a wry smile on his face as he reminisced over his third-place finish at the SA Open Championship last year, and looked forward to once again competing in his national open, which is due to play out at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate this week.

“It’s nice to be back. Last year was something special, and this year we’re just going forward. It’s a new year, and I’m happy to be back and not have to pre-qualify. I’ve got two rounds at least, so let’s see what happens,” he said.

The Kempton Park local has spent plenty of time preparing at the 7096-metre layout, and this week he’ll get his chance to go deep once again.

“I’ve been playing here once or twice a week since the beginning of the year. I’m quite familiar with the course, but the rough is quite thick and I haven’t practiced in that yet. We’re getting there. Tomorrow I’ll hopefully get a practice round in and go from there,” he said.

The 27-year-old likes a challenge, and it showed at the ISPS Handa Match Play Championship two weeks ago when he made it to the top 16, chalking up his sixth career top-10 in the process.

While he didn’t want to curse his week, Strydom was confident about his chances, and as he’s shown before, when he gets his tail up, beware!

“It’s almost the same as last year. The greens are running perfectly, and it’s sitting when you hit your irons in. I’m going to try to surprise again. I’m not saying anything, but the golf is there, so we’ll see if we can go low,” he said.

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