Control the controllables.
That’s the attitude Duntryleague stalwart Robert Payne is taking into this weekend’s Wentworth Open, as he continues his bid to claim all of Orange and Blayney’s 2016 Open titles – a feat he’s “99 per cent sure” he’s achieved before.
He’s already won his home trophy, the Country Club gong and the Blayney Open too, so it’s just Wentworth left to take home.
“I just need to worry about what I’m doing and my game,” Payne said in the lead-up to the 36-hole Open.
“When you start worrying about what the other guys are doing and how they’re playing you’ll get yourself in trouble.
“So if I worry about myself and get off to a good start, hopefully a few guys might be looking at what I’m doing. I just don’t want to be in a position where I’m relying on other people to make mistakes or anything like that.
“The way I play now it’s not about how many good shots I play in any given round it’s about where the bad ones go, so I’ll just be trying to minimise those bad shots and see how I go.
“There is a bit of pressure there I think and a few nerves, it’s a big thing.
“I’d really love to win all four, but I’ve got lucky to win three and I’m really pleased to have been able to do that.”
Payne has been fighting a well-publicised battle with a cartilage-free knee throughout his 2016 Open campaign, but in a potentially ominous sign for his competitors this weekend, said knee “is feeling pretty good”.
“It hasn’t really bothered me too much for a while now,” Payne said.
“Every now and then it locks up and you’ll play a bad shot but you can’t blame that.
“It’s certainly better than it was anyway.”
Payne nominated fellow Duntryleague gun James Conran as one to beat, along with Dubbo’s Ross Horrocks.
The trio will be grouped together as well, setting up a potential shoot-out in the competition’s later stages.
“I’m playing with those two so at the very least I’ll be able to keep an eye on how they’re doing,” Payne laughed.
“But those two are definitely the two to beat I think.
“They just hit the ball so far, they bomb it right out there whereas I’m just working to hit it straight these days.
“A big factor at Wentworth is just that, hitting it straight.
“You can get yourself into some horrendous trouble if you don’t go straight up there.
“Another big factor will be the long par fives, James and Ross can hit those greens in two and I’m not sure I can so that might play a role.
“But I’ll just try and drive well, find the right spots of the green and putt well.”
The Wentworth Open is on Saturday and Sunday.