The defending champion of the RAM Cape Town Open, Benjamin Follett-Smith, has few expectations this year following a rather difficult spell on Tour since his win here.
He has made the cut five times in 19 starts this season and admits he’s struggled while also pointing out what the causes may have been.
‘Very few expectations this week,’ he says ahead of this year’s edition, which is co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour.
‘I’ve learned my lesson last year. I struggled this year because my expectations got too high. Now, I’m just trying to maintain composure; hit fairways, hit greens and just make sure I do the basics right. If you get the basics right, you should be able to give yourself chances.’
He admits, however, that all is not lost for him because regardless of his undesirable results this season so far, he is still learning about the game and about himself as well.
‘It’s a learning curve,’ he notes. ‘Because this year, I’ve missed more cuts that I have done in my whole career. It’s just learning how to get back up bigger and stronger. I’ve taken five steps back but I’m trying to take them forward now.’
A fierce competitor of his calibre is not to be distracted by a series of unwanted results, however. In all his struggles, Follett-Smith has had some positives to draw on and the eighth-place finish he and compatriot Stephen Ferreira got in the team championship a fortnight ago, is one such positive.
‘At team champs, I hit the ball really well,’ he said.
‘And it was easier because I had Stephen backing me up. But I did hit it well and that showed me that when I am confident, I can pull through. Obviously, with a few mishaps and not playing well, the confidence will go down but coming to a place where I have succeeded, seeing the positives, seeing what I did and what I can do, is helping the confidence. So, I feel good and I feel like I can compete again.’
No matter his current form and the struggles with which he has had to deal on the golf course, Follett-Smith is ready for everything this great championship has to throw at him.
‘I hope the wind picks up. I really like it here when it gets windy. It just makes things a little bit more interesting.’