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Golf | SA

Merrick Bremner © Gallo Images

Deja vu for Bremner



For Merrick Bremner, it is a case of deja vu as he heads into the final 36 holes of the SA Open in second place.

In 2011, Bremner was in second place after two rounds on the exact same score of 10 under par, but rounds of 72 and 75 saw him finish well down the leaderboard in 20th spot.

Three behind leader Swede Henrik Stenson at Gauteng's Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate on Saturday, the 26-year-old who turned professional in 2005, sported an aggressive game, and was extremely long off the tee.

After firing a course record-equalling 64 in the first round, Bremner said he was adopting a different approach this year.

“I think it's got a lot to do with the work I've been putting in behind the scenes, not only on the golf course, but also with a sports psychologist by the name of Tim Goodenough,” said Bremner.

“We've done extensive work together over the last month or so, and that's led to my change in thought pattern and decision-making on the golf course.

“You can see the bigger picture, and it's not just about brawn, it's sometime about the brains as well.”

Bremner said with his strengthened mental game, he was more adaptable in different situations out on the course.

“If things happen where I get to another good score then I might play conservatively, but I think aggression is key around here, especially early on in your round, because you can present yourself with more opportunities.”

Bremner would have been tested with a weather interruption on Friday and left him with four holes still to be completed for his second on Saturday.

“I didn't treat it as four holes. It was the completion of a round, so you've got to keep the same focus up as you did yesterday or the day before that.

“You can't let it slip for one second – if you do you can make a double quickly. You've got to keep the focus up and come and do your best.”

Early in his second round on Friday, it seemed he would struggle to keep a score together after a bad start.

“Things change – I had a double early on in my round yesterday [Friday] and I missed a couple of early opportunities for birdies," he said.

“I just regrouped and made a couple of birdies before the turn, and then just kept playing.

“I stopped hitting driver on the back nine, because I hit a few poor shots early on. I just need to hit some fairways and greens and give chances for birdies.”

In addition to the sports psychologist, Bremner said his caddie has helped change his game.

“Having a good caddie helps a lot. James (Stewart), my cousin, has been caddieing for me for nearly two years now," said Bremner.

“He's grown with me and as a team, he talks me into some shots as opposed to just pulling the driver and hitting it and he knows when to hit driver and when to hit iron.”

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