As the Sunshine Tour’s flagship event fast approaches, 2016 champion Brandon Stone heads into next week’s BMW SA Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni at Glendower Golf Club looking for more consistency in his game.

“I’ve made a few technical changes to my swing,” said Stone. “Last year, I didn’t have the best finishes so I was looking for some consistency, so I had to do some minor changes, technically and with my game approach. And, just to keep things simple and return to basics.”

While he admits he didn’t finish last year as he would have liked, the 2016 champion is eager to get going in the new year and says despite the work he’s been putting in over the Christmas break, there is always pressure when entering an event that one has won before.

“Having your name on the trophy, you are regarded as one of the favourites and it adds a bit of pressure, but you love that. I had a great break during December and I feel this tournament is coming at the perfect time when my body and mind are in shape,” he said.

While Stone’s 2017 didn’t produce fireworks by his standards, he remains hopeful that more South Africans will taste even more success on the European circuit. “I think this year will be great for our golfers,” he says.

“The state of golf in South Africa is incredible. So many golfers – next generation – are staking their claim. We saw Erik van Rooyen, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean (Burmester) and the other guys, doing great and I think credit must go to Golf RSA and SAGA for this growth. Obviously, guys like Ernie and Retief and Branden Grace have led the way for so long but I think there will be more younger players moving to play bigger tournaments in Europe and elsewhere.”

Stone is one of 12 former champions contesting for the 107th BMW SA Open Championship alongside Richard Sterne, Hennie Otto, Retief Goosen, James Kingston, Ernie Els, Graeme Storm, Andy Sullivan, Morten Orum Madsen, Trevor Dodds, Trevor Immelman and Mathias Gronberg.

With a lengthy break under the belt, a fresh Brandon Stone will certainly be one to keep an eye on at next week’s BMW SA Open.

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