FOR a man whose trophy cabinet boasts 2012 Dubbo, Parkes and central west grass green crowns as well as a joint Cowra open title, defending Bathurst open champion Robert Payne has a fairly simple philosophy on golfing success.
“I’ve just got to go out there and play my own game,” Payne said.
“I’ll try and hit as many fairways and greens as I can and hope the putts go in.”
Payne is shooting for his sixth Bathurst crown when the 36-hole event at the Bathurst Golf Club tees off today.
And the secret to success is simple.
“It’s not about how many good shots you hit it’s about where the bad ones end up. There’s a couple of holes I’ll have to be careful of,” the Duntryleague golfer said ahead of today’s opening round.
“I’ve got to keep it out of trouble.”
Payne won his fifth Bathurst Open title in 2011 after backing up a solid four-under 67 opening round total with an impressive 76 in a wind-affected second round on the Sunday.
It handed him a six-stroke win over Bathurst’s Jarryd Bird.
But it’s big hitting Bathurst golfer Paul Bright who is tipped to be the man most likely to challenge Payne’s quest for a sixth title this weekend, with Bright hitting form in the tough Vardon tournaments in Sydney of late.
There’s also a host of Duntryleague golfers that will also make the trip for the open.
“There’s about 10 or 12 golfers from Duntryleague,” Payne said.
“I’m playing with Rob Parfett, Carpo (Wayne Carpenter) and Priesty (Adrian Priest), if I don’t beat them I won’t win.
“But I can’t worry about them. I’ve just got to worry about my own game.”
Another win will edge Payne closer to the all-time Bathurst Open record of 10 titles, held by Bathurst’s Don Payne.
Duntryleague’s Payne, however, doesn’t feel the Bathurst course favours his style of play despite the success he has enjoyed at the tournament.
“I just enjoy playing on all golf courses,” he said.
“It’s not a course that’s unfamiliar to me.”
The Bathurst open begins today and continues tomorrow at the Bathurst Golf Club. Payne and his group tee-off at 12.03pm.