Doug McGuigan will defend his title at the Zambia Open Sunshine Tour event this week at the Lusaka Golf Club starting on Thursday.
“I've just arrived and already there are people talking about the champion, so you do feel it,” said McGuigan on Wednesday.
“I'm looking forward to the tournament. It's good to be back, but you're not coming back to the same golf course, so there are different feelings,” McGuigan said about the venue, which has changed.
He will need to adjust quickly to tackle the challenges he will face at the 6608 metre parklands layout, which last hosted the Zambia Open in 2004.
“We played here a while ago and I'm stretching my memory to see what's going on. Nothing looks familiar and trees can grow in eight years,” he said.
The 31-year-old has plenty of momentum coming into the week after his second-place finish at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Zebula tournament a week ago.
“We drove up here and had some good relaxation. I'll get started this afternoon and practice a bit, then play tomorrow. I'm feeling good at the moment,” he said.
This year R1.2 million is on offer at the 144-man event, which has a cut to 65 players and those tied on the number after 36 holes.
“To do it again would be a great feat. We don't predict what's going to happen in this game, we just go out and try to do our best each round.
“Hopefully that's enough this week,” said McGuigan.
Bryce Easton, last week's winner, is a danger man in the field. In May he took his maiden victory at Lost City Golf Course in the Sun City Challenge title. Last week he cruised to a three-stroke win at Origins of Golf Zebula, marking his second victory in three tournaments.
Andrew Georgiou also heads to Lusaka on a superb run Ä he came tied second at the Sun City Challenge, finished sole third at the Lombard Insurance Classic, and then took fifth at Origins of Golf Zebula last week. – Sapa