Injury-free Hart du Preez happy to be back on Tour
JOHANNESBURG – While he doesn’t think it’s safe to announce that he’s shrugged off his injury issues, for now, James hart du Preez has certainly made positive strides towards the competitive player he showed to be when he earned his Sunshine Tour card at Qualifying School.
He tore a wrist ligament a few tournaments into last season’s schedule and was initially set for a single operation. A few setbacks in his recovery forced him into the doctor’s ward for two more operations and the recovery from those was a slow process for the 24-year old.
Over a slow process of rehabilitation, Hart du Preez has made a comeback, and this season, he has played in the last seven events, missing the cut only twice (At Royal Swazi Spa Challenge as well as the Wild Coast Sun Challenge).
His best results of the season, however, is the third-place finish he got last week at Selborne where his final-round six-under-par 66 got most people talking about the talent that he is. A 66 is a solid score without a doubt, but it is in the manner in which he did it that got golf fans excited.
While his front nine there was characterised by two birdies and a bogey, it was on the back nine where Hart du Preez turned it up. He made six birdies in seven holes and five of those birdies came one after the other, an impressive feat.
“The injury is not a concern anymore, otherwise I wouldn’t have come back,” he said ahead of this week’s Sibaya Challenge presented by Coca Cola Beverages South Africa at Mount Edgecombe Country Club. “It’s just nice to be back playing, with no significant pain. But I wouldn’t say I’m all good.”
With the kind of game he produced on the homeward stretch in the final round last week, Hart du Preez admits that that type of score does help with confidence. “I didn’t even know I’d made five birdies in a row there until I made the fifth and I thought ‘wow, we’ve gotten into a bit of a run here’. I don’t think I’ve ever made five in a tournament, definitely not as a pro.”
Despite playing so well in five of the seven tournaments he’s played, Hart du Preez refuses to put pressure on himself by targeting victories or setting particularly lofty targets for himself, and would rather take a different approach.
“It’s just difficult to set goals like winning tournaments or contending because there’s so many little things that lead up to having that take place,” he said, “and to focus on a goal like that makes it so big and unattainable. For me, having a good mental scorecard on the day and focusing on the things you can control are far more important, especially going forward. To just carry on performing well, and those things will be taken care of by good performances.”
He will have this week’s tournament, the final event in the Sun International golf series for this season, to make further assessments of where his game is and how his body responds.
African News Agency (ANA)