Michael Hollick will head into his second year on the Sunshine Tour inspired to achieve after playing alongside the European TourÂs finest at the Volvo Golf Champions.
ÂThe first tee shot is very nerve-wracking. The announcer for the British Open is there and when he calls your name, with all of those people lining the tee box, it is quite intimidating. At the same time itÂs what you want Â itÂs what happens at the highest level Â and itÂs what you play golf for,Â he said.
The 25-year-old is a member at Durban Country Club and received an invite to play as a marker in the limited-field, Â2-million tournament. He relished the opportunity.
ÂIÂve been a member here for years and I was the club champion before I turned pro two years ago. The tournament was one player short, so they contacted me and asked if I wanted to play as a marker. I took them up on the offer, because it was such an amazing opportunity,Â he said.
ÂWhat a great experience playing with the big guys. I had a practice round with Paul Casey and Branden Grace, so it can only improve my game. I think this was the best practice I could possibly get for the Telkom PGA Championship, which is the start of my season.Â
Hollick played alongside Darren Fichardt for three of the tournament rounds and managed to finish one stroke better than the European Tour veteran. While the youngster doesnÂt earn a cheque, he was pleased to hold his own over four rounds.
ÂI played with Darren (Fichardt) in the ISPS Handa Match Play and he pipped me on the last hole, so itÂs been good to play with him over the last few days and to finish one shot better than he did.
“I finished one-over for the four rounds, which I was happy with. I was two-over the first round, then one-under, one-under and one-over today. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed playing the course in such good condition,Â he said.
Hollick is primed for greater success this year, yet kept a wise view on climbing the heights of golfing success.
ÂThe fame and glory for most of the guys doesnÂt come around straight off the bat – it takes a couple of years. IÂve gained an exemption for this year, so IÂve got no more pre-qualifying. Hopefully I can turn one of those starts into a win,Â he said.