South African Chris Williams aims to stay relaxed and banish his recent putting troubles over the next two days after a promising opening round of two under par 70 in the French Riviera Masters.
One of the most consistent performers on the Senior Tour for the past four seasons, Williams has struggled with his short game this year and admits he has been putting too much pressure on himself to perform.
The runner up in the 2010 Order of Merit currently trails in 53rd position on the 2013 standings after only two top ten finishes so far this term.
After salvaging par on the first hole following a wayward tee shot, Williams settled any nerves by holing his bunker shot on the second and picked up further birdies on the sixth and 12th holes, before back-to-back bogeys in the 13th and 14th.
He recovered immediately with another birdies on the 15th, draining a ten foot putt, to boost his confidence going into the weekend at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, where he finished tied tenth last year.
“It’s the first time this year I’ve been up there,” he said. “It was a steady round. I’ve been playing a lot better the last couple of rounds so it is pleasing.
“I’ve been under pressure this year, but the last four or five my scores have been improving. I kept the ball in play which is important here as we can place on the fairways this week.
“I hit the ball nicely and I kept the round going. My family have been encouraging me to hang in there this year. I’m a hard worker but it has been tough. I’m trying to relax a little bit more. Everyone is under pressure – you are not unique. So I’m trying to take it easy and have a glass of wine every now and again!
“My putting has been terrible this year and that affects your whole game, from your irons to your driving. It’s been very disappointing this year so I just hope I can have a strong finish. I still hit the ball as good as anybody in the Order of Merit and I think I can win a tournament. I just have to get in that position and relax when I do. This is a good foundation for me and it would be good to be up there on Sunday with the big boys.”