Stone eyes victory in Morocco
Brandon Stone is confident that his sudden and rather unexpected rich form will stand him in good stead to win the Trophée Hassan II at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Morocco, starting on Thursday. The 22-year-old Pretoria-based golfer snatched his maiden victory on the big circuit by winning the SA Open at the Glendower Golf Club in Edenvale, Ekurhuleni, in January. That victory made him the country’s youngest champion at Mzansi’s flagship event since it was first co-staged with the European Tour in 1997.
Since then, however Stone had been struggling to cope on the big stage – until last week.
He finished tied for second at the Shenzhen International at the Genzon Golf Club in China on the European Tour. The event was won by Korean Soomin Lee, who carded -16 for a total of 272.
“I am happy I have regained my form because my golf swing was terrible before my last game.
“Most of my shots had not been finding the fairways, and now I’m confident I can win the Morocco event,” said Stone.
Since his SA Open victory, Stone performed dismally on the tour, where he finished poorly in Europe. His scorecards on the European Tour in February read as follows: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (26); Commercial Bank Qatar Masters (48); Omega Classic (82); and the Tshwane Open (10).
Before his good showing in China, Stone’s disastrous form continued when he carded tied 85th at the Spanish Open at Valderama.
He believes good fortune on the European stage will be realised for him for the second time in almost four months when he tees up in Morocco.
“The Morocco event is pretty competitive as compared to many other events on the tour because of the narrow fairways. It will be nice to win this competition,” said Stone.
The player, who is coached by his dad, Kevin, himself a professional golfer on the Sunshine Tour, said competition would be stiff in Morocco.
“My dad has been working on my short game and putting at our home course in Pretoria this week. I’m confident about bringing the trophy home,” said Stone.
He is among eight South Africans who have registered to participate in the showdown.
Dean Burmester is the other leading player from these shores who wants to make a mark in Morocco.
He won six times on the Sunshine Tour since he turned professional in 2010. Five of his wins last year included the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open.
But competition will be stiff on the desert country’s greens, which were dominated last year by Scottish player Richie Ramsay.
A generous prize purse of €1.5 million (R24.5 million) will be on the line.
CONFIDENT Brandon Stone believes his good form will help him win next week