Andrew Curlewis shot a final-round 65 to finish second at last yearÂs Nedbank Affinity Cup. This time around heÂs ready for victory at the Lost City Golf Club, and heÂll get his chance come Tuesday.
ÂItÂs one of those happy hunting grounds. IÂve done well here over the last couple of years, and had a nice finish last year. Hopefully we can go one better this time,Â he said.
The Margate local is used to hot weather, and clearly feels at home in the North West ProvinceÂs heat. The results tell the story Â Curlewis has three top-10s in three Affinity Cup starts.
ÂItÂs hot! ItÂs a different heat to back home, and I think itÂs going to be a long, grinding week,Â he said. ÂAlthough itÂs always nice to come to a place where youÂve played well before Â coming to a happy place makes it better.Â
Looking to cut his teeth this week is Daniel Hammond, who played his way into the event by shooting 68 to claim the first of 10 pre-qualifying spots.
ÂThe pre-qualifying has been pretty tough this year, but the good thing is that IÂve kept my card through the Big Easy Tour. IÂve now got the attitude of trying to learn as much as possible. IÂm going to go for it, stop putting so much pressure on myself and just have some fun,Â he said.
ItÂs not the first time heÂs gone deep at Lost City Golf Club Â earlier in the year he shot a first-round 66 on his way to a share of 22nd at the Sun City Challenge.
ÂIÂm pretty chuffed with today. I enjoy this course and at the beginning of the year I did well here. The course suits my game, because youÂve got to hit it pretty straight here. I was just patient out there and it paid off. The greens are good, so if you hit it well thereÂs a good chance you can go low,Â he said.
The 21-year-old rookie earned his 2013 card with a share of third at the Big Easy Tour Championship. With that pressure off his chest heÂs after bigger and better things.
ÂIÂd like to get into some co-sanctioned events and make some good money. My golf is starting to feel better, so if I can play decent in one of those itÂd be great. IÂm looking forward to the tournament this week, and IÂm excited to see what happens,Â he said.
HeÂll face tough competition from Jake Roos, who won the 2009 Affinity Cup with a 12-under-par total. Roos has already won twice this year, and recently took fourth at the Suncoast Classic.
Joining the fray is defending champ Warren Abery, who took a two-stroke victory last year after shooting a second-round 65. Abery returns from a stint in Europe with every intention of defending his title.