JOHANNESBURG - Christiaan Basson is confident that he will be able to defend his title at the Royal Swazi Open this week.
He heads into the week at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club on the back of a 13th-place finish at the Zimbabwe Open two weeks ago and has been happy with his game of late.
"It was nice playing well in Zim and getting back into it," Basson said.
"The course is looking very good and I'm fond of Swaziland. I'm quite relaxed and everything is going well, so I'm happy to be here."
Basson clocked up a 50-point total for his 72 holes at last year's Swazi Open, finishing one point ahead of Des Terblanche and Danie van Tonder.
The 17th hole at Royal Swazi Sun is one of the best par fives on the Sunshine Tour circuit, with water surrounding the front of the green and bunkers protecting the back.
The 18th is a sneaky par three with a steep slope on the right side when faced from the tee.
"Those are two great closing holes," Basson said.
"The 17th has a back tee that means you really need to be careful, because anything can happen there. The 18th is a strong par three and if you're off the line it's going to cost you."
While Basson practised for his title defence, Darryn Lloyd led the pre-qualifier, which offers up the final 10 places in the tournament.
Last week Lloyd shot a final-round 64 at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour's Observatory event, and lost in a playoff with Micky Hough.
Lloyd produced similar magic on Tuesday when he reached a 21-point total after carding three eagles during the qualifier.
He was followed by Derik Ferreira, who made 18 points to take second place. Also making it through were Brandon Detweiler, Jeff Inglis, Johan de Beer and Kevin Stone.
Desne van den Bergh, John Bele, Martin du Toit and Shaun Smith took the final four spots after each making 11 points.
The Swazi Open works off a modified Stableford scoring system.
Points are awarded for scoring, with eight points going to an albatross, five points to an eagle and three points to a birdie.
A bogey will cost a player one point and a double bogey three points.