Trevor Fisher Jnr (Getty Images)
Seven-time Sunshine Tour winner Trevor Fisher Jnr is hungry for victory in the Africa Open after last week’s confidence-boosting performance.
The Johannesburg man finished in a tie for sixth place in the Joburg Open, having shared the lead after three rounds, and arrives at East London Golf Club as one of the favourites to claim the title.
“I’ve been knocking for a long while now, but I finally believe that I can win a European Tour title,” Fisher Jnr said ahead of the fourth European and Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event this season.
“With the Africa Open this week and the new Tshwane Open at the end of the month, this is a great time to be a Sunshine Tour golfer looking to break on to the European Tour stage. Hopefully I can keep my form going and get my name engraved on one of the two trophies.”
Although he lost out to Richard Sterne last week, Fisher Jnr is taking plenty of positives from his performance.
“I shared the lead for two rounds at the Joburg Open, then lost my swing in the third round but still hung on to a share of the lead,” he said. “I wasn’t hitting it that well on Sunday, but I kept myself in contention. It’s a big thing to realise that even when your game isn’t at its best, you still have the goods to compete at the top level.
“The experience has really given me a sense of purpose; I’m hungry to win. Victory here on Sunday, or victory at the Tshwane Open at the end of February, is my top priority now.”
In the last 13 months, Fisher Jnr has won three times on the Sunshine Tour and posted eight top ten finishes to close out the 2012 season ranked fourth in the Order of Merit.
He also has a fine record in the Africa Open, adding: “Three years ago, I shot rounds of 66, 66, 71, 72 and tied for fourth. I finished three shots off the pace from Charl Schwartzel and played some of my best golf here that season.
“I’m back with more experience, more consistency, more patience and the confidence to know I can get the job done. I’ve been out practising this week, ironing out any niggles and just getting a feeling for the week ahead.
“I was reminded again what a great track this is. It suits my eye and my game and I just feel good out there, so hopefully another good week is waiting.”
Fisher Jnr, Thomas Aiken, Keith Horne, Jaco van Zyl and Jbe’ Kruger will lead the local challenge against a strong international line-up which includes Ricardo Santos of Portugal, Englishmen Robert Rock and Tommy Fleetwood and Grégory Bourdy of France.
The winner will not only receive the lion’s share of the €1million prize fund, but will also earn a one-year exemption to The European Tour and five years to the Sunshine Tour.
Fisher Jnr added: “Thomas, Keith, Jaco and even Jbe’ Kruger have earned their stripes and are already competing on The European Tour, but I’m still looking to join that club, so I guess I’m the dark horse this week.
“I’m not taking anything for granted though, because I think it’s going to be a tough week. There is so much to play for. South African players have won this tournament since it launched in 2008 and there are a lot of young South Africans hoping to break into the big time.
“The international players would like to break that tradition and there are some guys coming into this week in red-hot form, like Ricardo Santos and Tommy Fleetwood. So no-one can afford to get complacent. It’s going to be a tough week, no doubt.”
Tickets to this year’s Africa Open are available at the gate. Entry is free for children under 18 on Thursday and Friday and R5 for Saturday and Sunday. Adults also enter for free on Thursday and Friday and for R25 per day on the weekend.