Cape Town - Chris Kirk is looking forward to defending his McGladrey Classic title in front of his home fans in Georgia this week.
The 29-year-old claimed a one-shot victory over Briny Baird to lift the trophy last year, and clearly enjoys playing on the Sea Island course, having lived at nearby St Simons Island for the last six years.
Since winning last year's McGladrey, Kirk has gone from strength to strength, culminating with his victory at September's Deustche Bank Championship against a world class FedEx Cup field.
Among those expected to challenge Kirk this week are tournament host Davis Love III, US Ryder Cup duo Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, five-time Tour winner Jonathan Byrd and former US Open champion Webb Simpson.
Simpson finished 12th, second and seventh in three previous visits to Sea Island, and is coming off a fourth at last week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
"The game is there," he said. "It's really fun to get in contention and hit good shots, and that's what we were able to do the last few holes. That's always a huge positive."