Riekus Nortje wants to reclaim top spot

After his top-20 finish at Vodacom Origins of Golf De Zalze last week, Attie Schwartzel is ready for Gary Player Country Club, the setting for tournament eight on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour roster.

“I’m playing well. The big thing is that I’m not making a lot of mistakes, which means that I’m scoring much better. I’m looking forward to the week and I’m feeling confident,” he said.

With two Big Easy Tour top-10s under his belt this season, the Magaliesig local felt good about his chances in the R100 000 tournament presented by Stonehage, which starts on Wednesday.

“I played the par-fives well last week,” said Schwartzel. “And that’s key on this course as well. There are a lot of holes where you have to play for par and the course plays long. I think the best player will win, because it really tests every element of your game.”

The biggest boost to his confidence is not his Big Easy season record, but rather his most recent result. The three-round, R600 000 event at De Zalze Golf Club last week attracted some of South Africa’s biggest golfers, including Jbe Kruger, Jaco van Zyl, Darren Fichardt and Keith Horne. Schwartzel was up to the task, however, and carded a second-round 68 on his way to a six-under-par final total and a share of 18th.

“I’m going to take it one shot at a time and see what happens this week. I’m feeling confident, and I want to get my exemption on the main tour and finish top-five on the Big Easy tour by the end of the year,” he said.

The 24-year-old had a forgettable start to the season, missing cuts right up until the end of June. The second half of the season has been a different story – he has finished in the money at every event since the start of July.

And that success is not limited to the main tour. Schwartzel has taken six top-10s on the Big Easy Tour since its inception last year, constantly marking himself as a threat on the course.

His best result thus far has been a share of second, and all that remains for Schwartzel is top honours.

Also a threat this week is Teboho Sefatsa, who has led the Big Easy Order of Merit for nearly the entire season. After slipping into second spot behind two-time winner Riekus Nortje, Sefatsa will be keen to reclaim his place atop the money list.

The Glendower Golf Club professional received a sponsorship from Sun International at the beginning of the year. With Sun City hosting him this week he has all the more reason to perform well.

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