Warren Abery played the weekend of the South African Open Championship in eight-under-par, which signalled a strong rise in form for the seven-time Sunshine Tour winner ahead of his week at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
“It’s nice to be back up there, I think it’s where I belong,” he said. “I’ve been out of it for a while and you start losing confidence. Some of your love for the game goes missing, but I feel like I’ve got that hunger back again. What better time to start than now?”
Abery has managed 74 top-10s during his 16 years on tour. At 40 years old he’s mentally prepared for the week at Leopard Creek, which is South Africa’s number one ranked golf course.
“I love Leopard Creek and I’ve had a few good finishes there before. I think this confidence will help going into the tournament,” he said.
The Durban local is accustomed to hot and humid conditions, which will give him the edge over the European contenders in the sweltering heat of Malelane.
Back in 2004 Abery contended for the Alfred Dunhill trophy and birdied the 15th and 18th during the final round at Leopard Creek to share third with Ernie Els and England’s Oliver Whiteley.
At that same tournament Charl Schwartzel took his maiden victory and in 2012 he once again lifted the leopard trophy. The 2011 Masters champion returns this week to defend his title.
Abery’s recent success and his good memories at Leopard Creek will both factor into the coming week as he looks for a maiden European Tour victory.
“My result at the SA Open was a very nice start to summer. We plan our whole year around these big events and I took a lot of time off in the middle of the year to prepare. I’ve been building confidence and I’m excited to see what I can do,” he said.