O’Briain hoping the sun keeps shining on South African dream

Bernie McGuire

Neil O’Briain was trying to focus on the positives after a nearly-week ended in a tie for 24th at the Sunshine Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt Golf Club.

With the whole field playing the Montagu course on Sunday, O’Briain found himself flummoxed by its grainy greens once more with the Dubliner posting a one-over par 73 to finish his tournament.

“I struggled on the Montagu greens again,” admitted O’Briain. “They are very grainy and tricky and they were probably my undoing in the end.
I missed a two-footer on 13 which is very unlike me – it felt like a decent enough stroke but it just snagged on the grain and went left and missed but they were very firm and just tricky all week.”


Having played his 36-holes on the Montagu this week in one-over par, O’Briain’s nine-under total acquired over the Links and Outeniqua tracks tells a tale of what might have been. Still, a productive week it proved and last year’s Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year was trying to find the positives despite a relatively flat finish.

“It’s a positive-ish result,” he continued. “I’m annoyed that I couldn’t play better on the Montagu. I struggled over the 36-holes on it, even par and one-over which is annoying. I feel like I was playing better than that but I just couldn’t get anything going on the greens which is disappointing.

“But all-in-all it’s not a bad week. I hit a lot of good shots but it was just one of those weeks – two rounds went well and two went as badly as they could, that’s golf unfortunately.”

Having made his way to the clubhouse bar to reflect on his efforts, O’Briain’s now looking ahead to what’s to come with his big goal very much focussed on retaining his playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour.

“Next up on the Sunshine Tour is Limpopo in two weeks’ time,” he added. “We’ll relax tonight and reassess the targets over the next few days but the goal is to keep my card down here which would be great and if not, there’s plenty of other options out there.”

The Limpopo Championship is set to be played at Euphoria Estate from March 7-11.

Yet it wasn’t just O’Briain who enjoyed a good week, with Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin signing off on an extremely encouraging performance with a two-under par 70. In the end Sharvin finished just one shot behind O’Briain on eight-under par to give his 2019 ambitions and early season boost.

Unfortunately for Tramore’s Robin Dawson, he fell short of the 54-hole cut on Saturday on two-over-par while Swede Philip Eriksson won the event by three strokes on 21-under par.


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