27th November 2015

Stone breaking new ground

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2015 Lion of Africa Cape Town Open: Day 4In the last three weeks Brandon Stone has won the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open and also become a member of the European Tour. The young star broke new ground this week at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, where he shot an opening round of 69 to get his 2016 Race to Dubai underway.

Its felt a little bit more relaxed this week. I think getting that first win last week lifted a monkey off my back, which has been nice. In the same breath, I still want to play well, because its the first tournament of the European Tour season and theres that little added pressure, he said.

The 22-year-old has spent the last few days adjusting to his new-found success, but wanted one last flourish before the end of 2015.

Im starting to plan for next season, but right now its about getting a good week in and then enjoying Christmas with the family. Im keen to see my parents for a few days, because I dont think Ive seen my mom in four months, he said.

Such is the life of a touring professional, and Stone is only beginning along that path. He currently has Alan Burns, the regular caddie for George Coetzee, on his bag and its helping him to focus on the right things.

I think Alan is a fantastic caddie and he has two European Tour victories with George Coetzee and has played in major championships before. He kept me calm and the vibe in the camp was always positive, even after we made bogeys.

We were walking down 18 and Alan said to me How special is it that we can be on the best golf course in Africa, with this sunset, playing the first tournament of the year? I told him its the reason I play this game, and he told me its the reason he caddies. It was just really fun the whole day, said Stone.

The Mount Edgecombe Country Club player was pleased after carding 69 for the first round of the 2016 European Tour season.

I managed to get a few quick ones and got to one-under, but bogeyed the ninth and turned in level par, so I wanted a few birdies coming from the back nine.

I played really solid on the back nine and hit every green, holed a few putts and was three-under-par to shoot a 69. It was a perfect start to the tournament, he said.