In his last month on the European Tour Darren Fichardt has missed just one cut, which means that he heads to Durban Country Club fully prepared to defend his Suncoast Classic title.
ÂItÂs good to be back in SA, and IÂll be here for most of the summer. My game is feeling very good, and IÂve had a solid two months in Europe. IÂve made pretty-much all of the cuts and IÂve been up there with no really bad finishes, so IÂm feeling pretty solid now,Â he said.
The 37-year-old fondly recalls his Suncoast victory, but this weekÂs weather was completely different to the three sunny rounds last year. In fact, rain poured down during the practice round on Wednesday.
ÂThis is a course IÂve always liked and always done well at. I was actually a late entry, and nearly missed this, but I made a plan very quickly when I found out it was this week. IÂm very excited because the weather is going to be tough and IÂm up for the challenge,Â he said.
Far more than the R600,000 prize fund is on offer this week, starting with 1000 Investec Cup points, of which the winner will receive 130. These points go toward qualifying for the Investec Cup, a tournament with a field consisting of the top 30 in points standings, who will play for a R6-million pot. 13 Tournaments, starting with the BMG Classic and ending with Telkom PGA Championship, will carry such points.
ÂIÂm very excited about it, and itÂs a huge incentive to play more tournaments back home. IÂm definitely going to have a look at my schedule and try to squeeze more events in,Â he said.
For Fichardt, the Suncoast Classic also offers up crucial tournament rounds at Durban Country Club, the venue for next yearÂs Volvo Golf Champions tournament.
ÂIÂve got the Volvo Tournament of Champions here in January, so I especially wanted to prepare for that. This track can be laid out in many different ways, and I want to see how itÂs laid out this week,Â he said.
While the weather was completely different to his the last time he was in Durban, Fichardt held by his theory on how to tackle the course.
ÂYou canÂt be too aggressive here,Â he said. ÂYouÂve got to take the course as itÂs laid out. Take iron off the tee where you need to, and the rest is all up to the putter.Â