Smile and Heinrich smiles with you
As a tactic in a tournament, smiling a lot on the golf course is not high on the effectiveness rankings, but Heinrich Bruiners used it to devastating effect in round two of the Vusi Ngubeni Q-School.
The 25-year-old from George carded a six-under-par 66 around Observatory Golf Club to go with his opening 68 and moved into sole possession of second behind Makgetha Mazibuko.
The smile was about more than the two eagles and three birdies that adorned his card, however: Bruiners went through a long period recovering from an upper femur fracture on his right hip.
“At the beginning the doctors said I wouldn’t be able to play golf again,” he recalled. “So I’m just enjoying the ride. To play again is great, and I’m just trying to smile more on the golf course.”
He turned professional in 2006, and his best season on the Sunshine Tour came in 2008, when he converted four top-20 finishes into 84th spot on the Order of Merit – and it was a grind. “When I played on the tour before, it was so serious, and I’ve just felt I wanted to enjoy it again,” he said.
“It’s still a game, even though it’s also a job. At the end of the day, it’s just hitting a ball, it’s just another round of golf.”
Of course, there is the added pleasure that good scores bring. “I’m very excited about the way I’m playing,” he said. “I’ve been working hard with my coach Roger Wessels at the Kenako Golf Academy in George, and finally it’s kind of paying off.”
His eagles in the second round at Observatory came at the second and the seventh, and they were in part product of some great putting which also saved some pars on his homeward nine.
“I knew I was going to struggle to swing the club like I used to before,” he said. “And one of the things I have discovered with the help of Roger is that it’s as much a mental thing as it is a technical one.
“I went through a stage when I had so much doubt in myself. I struggled to believe I was going to play again, but I worked hard in the gym, worked hard on my golf. That approach has been paying off. I’m happy, I’m excited to play golf, I wake up looking forward to hitting a few balls.”
And he smiles a lot.