'Now I know the level of golf I am capable of‚' says SA Open defending champion Paisley

Chris Paisley during the day 4 of the 2018 BMW SA Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 14, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. EDITOR'S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage.
Chris Paisley during the day 4 of the 2018 BMW SA Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 14, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. EDITOR'S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage.
Image: Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

Although he is the defending SA Open champion‚ there is very little Chris Paisley can draw from last year’s success.

The tournament is on a different course (from Glendower to Randpark)‚ it is in a different time slot (January to December)‚ while his bag (this time his wife is at home with their six-week old girl) will be on very different shoulders this week.

Still‚ the residual confidence that comes from a maiden win lingers with Paisley.

“Every tournament is different‚” the Englishman pointed out on Wednesday.

“Deep down it gave me the confidence that when I play well I’m capable of winning.

"Now I know the level of golf I am capable of. It was a turning point in my career‚” said Paisley.

Although he hasn’t been back to the winner’s circle he feels his game is competitive.

“It feels good. My game feels solid. I’m driving it nicely.

"That is key for me and probably why I had that good run in January. It kind of slipped in the middle of the season but I feel it is back again. I haven’t had the fireworks that I had earlier in the year yet.”

The mantle of being defending champion rests easy on his shoulders.

“When I first arrived on Monday it was quite quiet but as the week has gone on more people have mentioned it and the Tour has been putting it on social media the history of the SA Open‚" he said.

"That gave me a huge buzz to see my name alongside names like Gary Player and Ernie Els. It was a surreal moment.”

Even though he beat Branden Grace down the home stretch last season the likeable Englishman proved a popular winner at Glendower in January. He may draw less attention this time however.

“We had a baby girl six weeks ago. It is obviously too soon for her to travel‚” Paisley said about his wife Keri opting to stay at home.

“If the tournament was in January we may just have managed it.

“It has come too soon which is a bit of a shame. But I’m back with Sean (Russell) on the bag. We have a good relationship.”

X