15th February 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Namibia’s Britten in pursuit in ERPM Challenge
BOKSBURG, 15 February 2016 – Namibia’s Brendan Britten was feeling very chipper after he finished within striking distance of ERPM Challenge leader Pieter Moolman thanks to a strong finish on the back nine at ERPM Golf Club on Monday.
The 20-year-old from Tshumeb Golf Club turned one under with a pair of birdies and a bogey, but fired four birdies over the last six holes to tie IGT Tour winner Coert Groenewald in second on five-under-par 67.
Moolman set the target at 66 with five birdies, an eagle-three at 17 and a lone bogey at six.
“This is much more like it,” Britten smiled.
“I really hit the ball well off the tee and I never had to punch out, but the putter was really cold over the first seven holes. I missed birdie chances from 10 feet at eight and nine, but finally got some putts to fall over last six holes.”
Britten represented Namibia in several Africa Zone VI Golf Tournaments and All-Africa Junior Golf Championships, but the transition to the paid ranks has been tough.
“I came out to compete on the IGT Tour as a bridging year after I left the amateur ranks,” said Britten, who rents a flat in Faerie Glen which he shares former team-mates Zillan du Pisani and Neil Theron, who are both doing the PGA Teaching Professional diploma at the HPC Tuks Golf Academy.
“The idea was to join the Sunshine Tour at the end of 2015, but I realised I was nowhere near ready. When I started campaigning on the IGT Tour, my stroke average was 79.33 and you can’t dream to compete with that kind of stats. Over the last year at the GFG Academy, we’ve brought my stroke average down to 76.66, but I’m still a long way off my target.”
Britten could have taken up Affiliated Membership on the Sunshine Tour, but he chose to compete on the country’s premier development Tour for another season.
“The only way to get to a stroke average of 72 is to work hard on your game and to test it under tournament conditions,” Britten said.
“I would have had to play qualifiers on the Sunshine Tour, while I get to compete almost every week on the IGT Tour and the conditions are just as tough. The end goal is to get on the Sunshine Tour, but I don’t want to be given a card; I want to go to Q-School and earn it.”
Britten hit a good drive at 13 and converted a solid seven-iron approach at the par five for his first birdie on the back nine.
“After that birdie, the putts started to drop,” he said. “I hit nine-irons in at 15 and 16 and made both putts and made the second putt for birdie at the next par five. I was a little disappointed not to birdie 18, but overall I was really pleased with the performance.”
The Namibian had not earned a cheque yet in three starts this season, but he hopes that perhaps he can bank a little cash this week.
“I usually have one round that kills me, so it would be really nice if I could keep this form going for all three rounds,” he said.
“I think the biggest improvement in my game over the last year has been my mental approach. I am a lot more positive on the course, even when I make bogeys. I’ve learned to stay in the moment and to take that confidence to commit to my shots. I still have a setback every now and then, but hey, I’m only human.”