Top rookie Greene focused for Nashua Masters

Daniel Greene of the South Africa's Sunshine Tour

PORT EDWARD, South Africa – Rookie Daniel Greene has clearly made his presence known on the Sunshine Tour this year. He has a 130,000 zar lead in the Rookie of the Year race, as the season nears its December conclusion.

And he hopes to pad that lead some at this week’s Nashua Masters at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club, where the 1.2 million zar purse is among the season’s highest.

“I’ve been waiting for this time of the year,” he said, “where the money means that someone doing well in the rookie race can actually get some traction with a good performance in a tournament.”

Green said his focused nature has been the key to his success.

“Sometimes, I can lose what’s going on around me while I play, and I didn’t even know this was a four-round tournament,” he said.

He finished runner-up at the Vodacom Business Origins event at Port Elizabeth in July and was third at the Dimension Data Pro-Am in February.

Despite his lead over Justin Harding in the rookie race, he realizes a good performance by a rival can still unseat him.

“I would like to win the Rookie of the Year,” he said, “so this tournament is a good way to get myself into shape.”

Greene has struggled since Port Elizabeth; he missed three cuts and just one top-20 finish.

“I’ve been working things out with my coach after that bad patch,” he said, “and I have spent a lot of time on my putting, which has been a big part of the problem.”

The Wild Coast Sun Country Club is familiar territory for the KwaZulu-Natal player.

“I played it quite a few times as an amateur, and once made a 68 on it,” Greene said. “I’ve played it once this year, too.”

One thing working in his favor: Greene said he enjoys playing in the wind, and there is likely to be plenty of it on the coastal course.

And, with defending champion Darren Fichardt and Jaco van Zyl, a four-time winner this year, playing in Shanghai at the WGC-HSBC Champions this week, his chances look a little better.

Sunshine Tour contributed to this report.

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