Brazill ready to play through the pain as he plots ‘smart’ approach at Irish AM

Ronan MacNamara

Robert Brazill (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/R&A via Getty Images)

Robert Brazill will be trying to play smart in more ways than one this week as he manages a shin injury and expectations at the Flogas Men’s Irish Amateur Open Championship at the Island.

Brazill had to get eight stitches in his right leg on Sunday after an accident in the gym while doing box jumps as he ramped up his Irish Amateur Open Championship preparations. The pain will be worth it if he’s the last man standing this weekend.

“I was doing box jumps in the gym and I put a plate on top of the box, I wanted to jump a bit higher and one of my feet slipped and I missed it and my shin caught the edge of the box and the box is kind of a steel frame with a rubber mat on top and it took a lovely hole out of my shin so I had to get eight stitches in it,” explained Brazill.


“The actual cut and stitching wasn’t sore but the bruising is sore but I’m able to hit balls it’s just about getting the trust to hit the shots and use my right leg and not be tentative. I might have to use a club or bring a broken shaft as a walking stick. Walking eighteen holes for five days in a row will be a test.”

The Naas golfer opened his links campaign with finishes of 51st and 31st at the West of Ireland and the Lytham Trophy and it was in the latter where he threatened to get himself into contention. He lost a playoff in the Kilkenny Senior Scratch Cup last weekend and it’s one he felt that got away around the greens.

“The game is there to do something special but it’s the small little things that are holding me back,” said the former West of Ireland winner. “The short game isn’t great at the moment. I’m missing all the simple up and downs like the bread and butter stuff that keeps a round going.

“In Kilkenny if I got the simple up and downs I would have won by five but that’s the difference between winning or getting a top-10 or 20. If you give me a straight forward pitch and run I won’t get it up and down but a flop over a bunker to a tight pin I will. It’s frustrating.”

The 26-year-old feels like his game is close to clicking and he hopes playing smart golf can help him find the answers at the Island this week.

“I want to keep playing to my strengths and keep playing smart around the golf course. I was smart in Kilkenny I drove it poorly so I only used the driver a few times in the 39 holes I played so around the Island there is a lot of run on the ball if I can keep the ball in play, my iron play is as good as it’s ever been.

“The Island is a very firm links. It looks long on the card but doesn’t play that long. You don’t need to hit driver on that golf course to do wells, you just need to keep it straight. It’s about position and missing greens in places where you have two putts because the other way round you can be chipping to places where you can’t get at the flag.

“Keeping the ball in play and holing out well is key. Regardless of how you’re going you will have to hole a lot of ten footers for par and then keep the big numbers off the card. The third and fifteenth don’t require driver to get to the green on those par fives. Momentum putts are key around that golf course.”

The Connacht Strokeplay champion is chomping at the bit to pit himself against the best golfers from Great Britain and Ireland and feels the field is fitting of the quality of golf courses in this country.

“It’s one of the best Irish Amateur Open fields we’ve had in a long time. It’s great to get that sort of competition in Ireland and hopefully the weather holds up so it turns into a competition of great golf. Having such a strong field it should produce a strong winner.

“There’s no question about it in terms of links courses we have the best like Portrush. The big tournaments in Ireland are played on some of the best and most fun courses in the world so they do deserve the fields that the Irish AM is getting this week.

“It’s free in and it’s a central location in terms of having your big Dublin links courses within 15 minutes of each other. Hopefully we have a lot of Irish people out watching considering we have six Irish lads on the Walker Cup panel. I was talking to a couple of people in Lytham and they said they much rather come watch the Lytham Trophy than the Open Championship because they can get up close with the players. You’ve got top amateurs and maybe your next best stars and you get to see more than at professional events.

“You can cover a lot of holes in the Island without walking too far so if the weather is good it’s an ideal spectators course.”

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