A confident Brandon Stone will tee off at Leopard Creek Country Club on Thursday when the co-sanctioned Alfred Dunhill Championship gets under way, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Compleat Golfer‘s playing editor secured a T4 finish at last week’s Joburg Open and having won at the iconic Leopard Creek back in 2016, Stone has a combination of factors providing him with believe to perform well again over the next four days.
‘Every time you have a good result it builds that confidence and builds that little bit of extra self-belief,’ he told Compleat Golfer on Wednesday.
‘Last week is no different, game feels really in fantastic shape at the moment and overall just pretty confident and comfortable in the game.’
Stone claimed a six-stroke victory over Richard Sterne four years ago as he added the Dunhill Championship for a second European Tour title.
The victory capped off what was a spectacular year for him after winning the SA Open at the beginning of 2016 and the 27-year-old says it is something special to return every time with those fond memories.
‘A little bit unfortunate but that was the last year they played the course that I won on – they did the renovations in 2017 but there is still some fantastic memories and good vibes and butterflies when you return here.
‘Leopard Creek in itself is so special and having won here before, it is always something that one brags about amongst their friends but the new course is extremely brutal. We might have come up with a game plan for it now, over the last few years there have been decent results but we haven’t been able to emulate that 2016 victory.’
Despite everyone raving about the beauty of the magnificent layout and everything that surrounds the place, Stone highlighted to big challenge the new design presents to the players.
‘The biggest challenge about Leopard Creek is just the greens, because they are so firm and fast. If you hit yourself in the wrong spot you are really going to leave yourself with some tricky up and downs. They have definitely created a new challenge with the new design of the greens but at the same time good shots are rewarded with good birdie opportunities,’ he added.