Durban - 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 at Mount Edgecombe Country Club.
nice to be back playing, with no significant pain. But I wouldn't say I'm all
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," he said.
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.
"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
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.