CARNOUSTIE – South African golfing legend Gary Player has said if Brandon Stone produces the kind of play he did last week when he won the Scottish Open, the youngster could triumph at The Open starting at Carnoustie Golf Links on Thursday.
“I can’t say if any one of them [South Africans] will excel. But look at what we saw with Brandon last week, if he repeats that he could win it this week,” said the nine-time major champion Player on Wednesday.
“He’s an extremely talented young man. I remember when I captained the men’s golf team to the Olympics, I was in awe of his talent. We’ve always been amazed at why he was not excelling. But golf is about more than just hitting a golf ball.
“The mind is what wins golf tournaments. So it will depend for all the South Africans, what frame of mind they’re in. And anything can happen.”
The 25-year-old has had his struggles with just one top-30 finish in his last 16 European tour events this season, while he made changes to his game. The win in Scotland, where he shot an incredible final round 10-under 60 to win by four last week was indeed a watershed moment.
Stone, though, is one of a dozen South Africans in the field, and Player highlighted amateur Jovan Rebula success in the British Amateur last month.
“I’m delighted to see 12 South Africans in the field, it’s remarkable. We have such great weather in South Africa and so many great golf courses that it lends itself to producing good golfers.
“What I am very proud of is that a South African - Jovan Rebula - won the British Amateur competition. You must never underestimate the British Amateur. It’s one of the toughest tournaments in the world to win. And also a South African - Wilco Nienaber - won the qualifying. Those are two of the most significant things I’ve seen in South African golf this year.”
African News Agency (ANA)