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Golf | SA

The life of a rainy-day pro



Rain and a waterlogged course had the final say on day one of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club on Thursday.

Frustrated pros encircled the practice facilities in the morning, and some looked unsure as to what they should do next. However, South Africa’s Justin Walters was one man who showed no such indecision.

“I’m definitely going to go watch a movie!” the big man told supersport.com. “I should probably also go for a session at the gym too. I think I packed on a few pounds in Europe this year with all the pasta and the bread. Worst case scenario I’ll go for a run on the promenade, and then I think I’ll settle into a good book later.”

In fairness to Walters, some weight wasn’t the only thing he picked up in Europe this year. The 32-year-old cut his teeth on the European Challenge Tour this past season, and, after a long grind of a year, emerged with a full European Tour playing card for 2013 courtesy of his finish inside the top 20 on the Order of Merit.

The achievement was understandably a satisfying one for the 2011 Royal Swazi Sun Open winner, although it was all the more frustrating that he couldn’t get his season under way today.

“It’s taken a little while to get used to, I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet. It’s been a wonderful, hard learning experience and I’m just delighted with the way it worked out.

“The weather isn’t in our hands and there’s nothing we can do. It means we’re all getting in a little bit more practice than we thought we would on a Thursday, but I’m hoping the weather holds for tomorrow so that I can get my campaign undercway,” Walters said.

Should Walters decide to go to the movies, he might well bump into a couple of his colleagues, with Sunshine Tour professionals Teboho Sefatsa and Charl Coetzee both expressing an interest in visiting the Suncoast cinema.

“I’m going to do a bit of chipping and a bit of putting, and then later I’m off to see a movie,”Sefatsa said authoritatively. “I also know what it’s going to be too – the new Bond film!”

Coetzee was also set on escaping the cloudy skies and seeing a movie, although he felt the choice of which one to enjoy wasn’t in his hands.

“I’m going to relax and chill for a bit, and then I’ll finish up with some chipping and putting before going to see a movie with my fiancée. Although I doubt I’ll get to choose which one, I’m sure it will be up to her to decide,” Coetzee joked.

While some choose to relax and escape the game of golf on days like today, others see it as an opportunity to put in extra hours, and little changes in their mind-set. James Kamte is a man who hasn’t lost his focus and is determined to make sure he’s ready when the event gets under way tomorrow.

“It doesn’t really affect me, we haven’t teed off yet so I will still have the same mind-set going into tomorrow. It gives us enough time to practice and work on our game, and we come back tomorrow a bit sharper and ready for golf,” he said.

“No movies or beach for me, I’ll be here all day practising,” the big man added.

Days such as today are always difficult, and it must take a lot of energy for these players to re-focus after psyching themselves up for a big first round. Perhaps they can take comfort from the fact that they were told their fate early in the day, and they could make their plans for the remainder of it with freedom.

Thankfully, the weather seems to be holding for the rest of the day, and if there is no more rain between now and tomorrow morning, they can enjoy their time safe in the knowledge that their preparations won’t be in vain when things begin in earnest at 6:30am on Friday.

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