While the European Challenge Tour took a week off to travel from the Foshan Open to the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Mallorca, Bryce Easton stayed on in China to make his World Golf Championships debut at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
We caught up with the South African, who heads into the season-ending event in 28th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, to find out about his experience.
Q. You made your WGC debut last week, what was that like?
Last week was unbelievable, it’s great to be rubbing shoulders with the best players in the world. It’s not so much on the course, but heading to the range or the locker room, they’re everywhere and it is great to just be able to observe and see what they’re doing, how they prepare and stuff like that. The whole set up of the whole week was just incredible, from the hotel to the golf course to the facilities that are available to you, it’s as good as it gets, and it’s really quite special to have the opportunity to play in that.
Q. Does it motivate you?
Absolutely. You want more of that in your life for sure. There are certain things that I know I need to get better at to get to that level. You can see all of those guys are great wedge players, they all have incredible short games, and those are areas where I need to get better in to get to that level, but it was awesome to also know that I can actually compete with them. I made a lot of sloppy mistakes out there as well, I left a lot of shots out on the course, like all of us can, but if you go through it all I could have actually been more competitive than I was, so it’s cool to know that as well.
Q. You finished in a tie with Jordan Spieth and Shane Lowry, and played with Jordan in the final round, what was that experience like?
It was great. He was awesome, we chatted a lot during the round going around just about general stuff but also a little bit about golf, I tried to pick his brain a little bit. What we’ve seen on TV with his short game and putting, I mean the guy is unbelievable around the greens. So, to have an eye-witness view of that was cool, I really enjoyed it. He’s a three-time Major winner, it was awesome.
Q. Did he say anything in particular that stuck with you?
I think the overall experience will stick with me. A lot of it though I think you almost see what the guys are thinking, so you don’t necessarily even need to ask, you can kind of learn by watching them and seeing how they go about it. There were some of the tight sandy lies I struggled with last week, and on one hole Jordan hit it down there in one dip and had the same lie and he also pulled the putter out. I thought, oh there you go, it’s not just me, he has one of the best short games out there and he did the same thing. It’s small things like that which are just kind of reassuring to know that I’m not far off and it’s a very fine line between where we are this week trying to get our European Tour cards, to playing in those events. They’re just efficient and that’s what makes them the best in the world.
Q. It is a lot of travel from Shanghai to Mallorca. Do you look at last week as a positive for your prospects at the Challenge Tour Grand Final?
I think any chance you get to be around those guys is a must. It’s a great opportunity. I am feeling confident afterwards. It’s a bit of a boost for me to know that I can compete. It’s a big ask for me this week to get my card. I probably need a top three I think, but we’ll see. I’m here now. It was a bit of a mission getting here, but we’re here and lets see what we can do.