Practice makes things better for Brandon at Lost City

Brandon Pieters embraced the necessary habit of practice again and it showed as he raced to a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday in the opening round of the R550,000 Sun City Challenge being played at the Lost City Golf Course.

“Today showed what a bit of practice in the last week or two can do,” said Pieters, who held the early clubhouse lead by one from Andrew Georgiou, Bryce Easton and Daniel Hammond.

The 36-year-old Pieters who plays out of Benoni Lake had a golden 2009 when he won three tournaments, and he won again in 2010. And after three top-10s in 2011, he was in a bit of a slump in 2012 with three missed cuts and a best of a share of 11th in the Investec Royal Swazi Open at the beginning of the month.

“Practice is just hard work, really,” he said. “If you want to get somewhere in this game, you’ve got to work really hard and I’ve just had a lot of things on my plate this year. But I’ve been given an opportunity to play and practice again, so I’m going to take it with both hands.”

He started quietly, with a birdie and a bogey in his first four holes – “The bogey was just a silly little block shot on the par-three 13th,” he said – but then he was faultless for the rest of the round, picking up seven more birdies.

“If you reflect on my recent good years,” he said, “I was always there or in with a shout, so I’m trying to get back to that form where I’m competing week-in and week-out again.”

His round trumped a fine effort by rookie Hammond, who only made it into the main draw of the tournament in a playoff for the final spot with a one-under 71.

He was five strokes better in the opening round with seven birdies and a bogey, all the more remarkable given it was only his second time around the 6,983-metre Lost City layout.

Easton also had a bogey in his round, but five birdies and an eagle helped him on his way; Georgiou was error-free in his round, continuing a good run for him lately, and it has come in tome for his maiden appearance in next month’s Open Championship.

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