Rhys Enoch comes to the RAM Cape Town Open keen to become the first player to successfully defend the title when he tees off on Thursday at the Royal Cape Golf Club.
‘I am very much looking forward to defending the title,’ he said.
He won his maiden Sunshine Tour title at King David Mowbray Golf Club last year.
‘Obviously we are going back to Royal Cape, which is fine. I love Royal Cape as well. It will be my first time defending a title. So I am really excited about that. I think it is just an exciting week, because I’ve always enjoyed being down in Cape Town, and coming to defend the title is a bit of enjoyment and excitement. It builds confidence, especially the way I finished the tournament last year. I just have good memories and good vibes.’
The Welshman, who is the only non-South African to win the event which started in 2012, still draws on memories of the final round a year ago.
‘I think I was two back starting out and I started bogey-bogey straight out the gate, which was rough,’ he recalled.
‘But it was one of those things and I knew I had to hang in there. I got back to level-par at the turn. I got to the 13th hole and I think I was 17-under for the tournament. I then saw that Peter Karmis was 21-under, maybe. I then thought I was playing for second, basically. I just kept doing what I was doing. I made eagle on 14th and I got the 15th green and saw I was leading. I then thought, okay I can win this,’ he said.
The 30-year-old player said he does believe the saying ‘When it’s your week, it’s your week.’
‘Definitely, I do believe it, but you don’t want to talk about it without putting great. I did a few things on the last round and I holed a couple of long putts when I needed to and everything that had to happen, happened.’
The win not only lifted him up on the Official World Golf Rankings, but it also gave him a boost mentally.
‘It makes you know that you can do it. Everyone here tells himself that he can do it, but until you have done it, you never really know. That was awesome to get that monkey off my back. In terms of world ranking points, it just moved me up a lot and opened doors like the US Open qualifying and things like that. Winning is massive. It obviously secured me the top-50 spot on the Sunshine Tour and got me a place in the Tour Champs, and it gave me a two-year exemption.’
Enoch said the win also took a little bit of pressure off.
‘Of course, it takes the pressure off,’ he said. ‘It was nice this season, I haven’t really shown it, but it did take pressure off, because I knew I have got exemption for the next year. So, there’s no pressure for me to finish top or whatever to keep the card, which is nice. It is just a confidence thing. You know you can do it and you just need to play yourself up into contention and you will just get the feeling back.’
Enoch comes to the oldest club in South Africa knowing what to do to score low.
‘You just need to drive the ball well,’ he said.
‘It is extremely tight and a very old-fashioned course under the trees. So driving is definitely premium. I hear that the greens are in very good condition, which is good news especially with the drought problem. I am looking forward to getting back. I am prepared for the wind. Obviously, I am from the United Kingdom, so I am no stranger to strong winds.’
But then he will also have to fend off Jaco Alhers, Jacques Kruyswijk and Jake Roos, former champions who all wish to see their names engraved on the trophy for the second time.