Johannesburg - His abiding memory of winning the Lombard Insurance Classic last year is of not being able to sleep after some eye surgery, so Merrick Bremner is looking forward seeing things a bit differently this time.
Bremner marched to a two-stroke win over PH McIntyre on the back of his opening round of eight-under-par 63 and a follow-up second-round 65.
"I was a week out from some corrective surgery on my eyes, and they were just burning and scratchy all the time," he recalled.
"All I can remember is having to put drops in them every few hours. I wasn’t concentrating much on the golf," he laughed.
For Bremner, the tournament holds special memories: It was at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club in the 2008 Lombard Insurance Classic where he won for the first time on the Sunshine Tour, and he feels confident enough around the tight layout in the Ezulwini Valley near the Swazi kingdom’s capital.
"The course is all about driving and putting," he said.
"I’m not saying that a long driver will always do well there, but if you’re straight off the tees, get the ball near the greens, then you can score well there. Then it becomes about chipping and putting for birdie quite often."
He will be up against some players in fine form at the moment, not least of them Danie van Tonder who won his maiden Sunshine Tour title on the course just two weeks back in the Investec Royal Swazi Open.
In that tournament, Van Tonder closed with a 63 to force a play-off with Jacques Blaauw and Jared Harvey which he closed out with an eight-footer for birdie on the difficult par-three 18th.
And both Harvey and Blaauw are just some lucky bounces away from victories on the Sunshine Tour this year, so Bremner will have to use his famed length off the tee as accurately as possible to fight off his challengers.