Eaves feels no pressure leading into Pro Am
IF YOU think Sam Eaves is feeling the pressure to win this year's Maryborough Golf Club Pro Am - think again.
Having finished runner-up in 2012, the 24-year-old returns to the course where he learnt his trade as one of the favourites to capture the $17,500 event.
Yet Eaves, who is in his second year on the PGA Pro Am Series, said he would have no trouble handling growing expectations.
"All the boys have a bit of fun about it, but by the time you get out there you've forgotten what's been said and have a hit," he said.
"For me the key to playing well is to have some fun and not play too seriously."
The two-day pro-am, which starts on Friday, is an annual fixture on the Queensland Sunshine Tour and has attracted almost 50 professionals and a stack of amateurs.
On the face of it, all the stars seem to be lining up nicely for Eaves.
Less than three months ago at the Blackwater Mineworkers Club Pro Am he brought up his biggest victory to date after holding his nerve over the closing holes to claim his first win since hitting the circuit full-time.
Eaves (pictured) grew up playing golf at Maryborough and feels right at home every time he comes back to play.
Despite knowing the course well, dating back to when he started playing there 19 years ago, Eaves is aware his colleagues on the tour will figure it out quickly.
"I know it (the course) like the back of my hand, but sometimes that's not always a good thing," he said.
"I have had some good success there and I believe I can win it, but this game is funny sometimes.
"You have to believe you can win, but you can't be going out there too confident because this game can be pretty quick to shoot you in the foot.
"Everyone is a good player and can win it."
Of his own game, Eaves said: "When I've been playing well the key has been my putting.
"I've generally always hit it pretty good, but I had to significantly improve my putting this year.
"I started to get advice from a putting coach (Matt Ballard), who has just given me some simple instructions to follow.
"When it comes to the final nine holes, I have to trust my putting and that was a big part of my game that got me over the line in my win this year."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chris Gaunt - Defending champion
Sam Brazel - Current Asian Tour professional
Paul Donahoo - Won the Capricorn Classic at Yeppoon last week.
Steven Jeffress - Played in the 2013 British Open