The 23-year-old has enjoyed a rewarding trip so far to the Rainbow Nation as part of a seven-strong SGU squad, having shared sixth spot in the South African Stroke Play then claiming four wins in a Test match victory against the hosts.
Three of those successes at Leopard Creek came against Brandon Stone, South Africa’s top-ranked amateur, and now Crichton is aiming to make his presence felt in an event won last year by Michael Stewart, who beat Paul Shields in an all-Scottish final.
“The trip so far has been excellent,” said the Fifer, who was runner-up in the 2009 Scottish Youths Championship and tasted success during his spell at Western New Mexico University. “The facilities at the Gary Player World of Golf in Joburg have allowed us to continue on from our winter training programmes in Abu Dhabi and continue to make strides in our golf performance.
“Combining this with some tournament golf against high-calibre players down here in South Africa and we really have the perfect preparation for coming back and competing in the 2012 domestic season.” Following an exodus of players to the professional ranks at the end of last season, the race looks to be wide open for the three berths in the Scottish side for the Eisenhower Trophy in Turkey later in the year.
Crichton is the first to lay down his marker and an added incentive in his latest outing is that the winner will earn a place in the South African Open in November. “As long as I prepare thoroughly and continue to trust my swing changes there is a chance to replicate the great Scottish performances of last year,” he added.
Shields is in the field again along with Brian Soutar (Leven), James White (Lundin), Conor O’Neil (Pollok), Fraser McKenna (Balmore) and Danny Kay (Dunbar).