New Portugal Masters winner George Coetzee has revealed the key to back-to-back victories on two different continents.
The newly-married South African captured last week’s Sunshine Tour event on his home course in Pretoria and a week later, Coetzee has captured a fifth European Tour win, and a first on European soil, with a two-stroke 16-under par success on the Dom Pedro Victoria course at Vilamoura.
“Winning on European soil for a first time was my next step for me really,” he said in posting a closing round 66.
“I have always had a list of things I wanted to achieve in my career as a golfer and originally I never thought I would get as far as winning on the European Tour, so ticking that box a while back was really nice, and then I started to realise that
“I was a bit comfortable playing back home and I needed to go to the next step and win away from home. And then I won in Mauritius, which still kind of counts as a Sunshine Tour event, so I still felt I needed to get off my continent and win something else. So really that was targeting these two events, so I am just happy that I kind of ticked the box in the right order”.
The Portugal Masters was Coetzee’s first European Tour event since contesting last March’s Qatar Masters.
He spent the lockdown at home with new wife, Carli-Jeanne and while the golf courses were also in lockdown mode, the now 34-year old found a way to keep sharp even though it did not entail leaving his home.
“The keepy uppys and the darts, yes, I was working on those mentally but the main sport I actually focused on was snooker,” he said.
“It is funny but snooker is probably the closest sport you get to golf because it is a stationary ball that you have to approach in a certain way, so I watched a lot of videos on mental stuff in snooker.
“I watched the World Champs live with Ronnie (O’Sullivan) winning which was unbelievable, the semi-finals were just insane, but me and my psychologist would have two hour sessions after a seven hour day of snooker, and the amount of data and information and the thought processes, because I don’t have any technical background or history in snooker, everything was based on my frame of mind and the only thing could really affect was my frame of mind.
“I can’t all of a sudden cue it better or aim it better, so it is amazing at the start of lockdown I could do a 20 break and by the end of lockdown almost made a 50 break, but I really enjoy the similarities in the sports in how you approach shots. I even got heart rate data from snooker.
“There were phases where I played really well and made a couple of nice breaks, and then phases where I made nothing, simple shots were missed, and then I could look at the heart rate data and compare that with the mental approach as well.”
While Coetzee has won 11 times on the Sunshine Tour, it had been March 2018 when he last tasted success on the European Tour and that was in capturing the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open.
And helping him get back into the winner’s circle is his work with US-based sports psychologist, Mark Wright.
“My psychologist I actually got from my old Dunhill Links partner, he is a hedge fund manager in New York, and he was telling me that he was working with a psychologist, and we just got along really well,” said Coetzee.
“His name is Adam Wright. He’s actually more from a baseball background, but I feel like me and him understand where we want to go with this.”