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Monday, January 30, 2023

Brandon Stone hoping to roll back the years at SA Open

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Centurion – Former SA Open champion Brandon Stone would love to add his name on the most coveted trophy in South African golf for a second time, as the tournament tees off at Blair Atholl Golf Course on Thursday.

Stone (29) won the tournament in 2016 in what was his first of three wins on the European Tour – now DP World Tour (DPWT).

He has not tasted victory on the DPWT since his stunning triumph in the 2018 Scottish Open when he closed with a final round 60, so Stone will be eager to step back into the winners’ circle.

“Being privileged enough to have my name alongside the likes of Ernie Els, Gary Player, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and so many others is something I hold very close to my heart. Any time you get to win your national Open it’s something special in your golf career. I know this year there will be a lot of top South African golfers looking to add their names to the trophy. I’m looking to get my name on there again,” said Stone.

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The former world No 67 now finds himself ranked 420th in the world after 13 missed cuts from 27 events in 2022.

Stone stopped a run of four missed cuts in a row at the Mallorca Golf Open last month by finishing 74th. He improved to a tie for 44th at last week’s Joburg Open as his game seems to be trending in the right direction.

“I have no doubt there will be a strong South African showing this year. You look at the field and the South Africans in there, and then a championship golf course designed by Gary Player, and I think this is one week where the fans can come and see first-hand how South African golf has moved to another level over the past few years,” said Stone.

“With the amount of golfers we have shining on the global stage, this is only a taste of what this country’s golfers have to offer for the years to come. I’ve just got a real feeling that this year’s Investec SA Open will be a true showcase of this.”

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As for the demands of the new venue for the SA Open, Stone said: “I think Blair Atholl will be an absolute test of the game. It’s a beast. The Blair Mile on the back nine is a true test of ball striking. You cannot miss a shot there. A par on those few holes is great. If the wind gets up the course will be even tougher.”

There will be a strong list of SA contenders for Stone this week as Grace, Dean Burmester, Shaun Norris, Dylan Frittelli, Daniel van Tonder, Thriston Lawrence, George Coetzee and Charl Schwartzel will all be gunning for a victory in the second oldest national open in golf.

@Golfhackno1

IOL Sport

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