Darren Fichardt was named European Tour Player of the Month for February and the accolade confirms his position as one of the favourites in this weekÂs Telkom PGA Championship.
He won the award after being 35 under par for his eight rounds in winning the Africa Open and finishing runner-up in the Tshwane Open, and the Sunshine Tour players he will be up against when they tee off on Thursday at Country Club Johannesburg will know he is the man to beat.
ÂI donÂt think IÂve ever been at 100 per cent playing here as I am now,Â said Fichardt who has a best finish of a share of second in the Telkom PGA Championship, achieved when Keith Horne won the tournament last year.
ÂOver here, itÂs just putting. Winning any tournament is all about putting and chipping and iron play. IÂll just take this confidence into the tournament and see where it takes me,Â he said.
ÂThe whole game has been coming together for some time and itÂs been great to see all my hard work starting to show on the scorecard. Hopefully I can maintain this momentum and continue to ride the wave.Â
The wave has seen him rise to a career-high of 75th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and it was only a couple of extraordinary rounds from Dawie van der Walt in the Tshwane Open which stood between him and a second consecutive win in an event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour.
Fichardt, who receives an engraved alms dish and a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne for being Player of the Month, collected his fourth European Tour title with scores of 69, 67, 65 and 71 for a winning 16-under-par total of 272 at East London Golf Club. Then the 37-year-old from Pretoria climbed to sixth in the 2013 Race to Dubai by finishing runner-up to Van Der Walt with scores of 65, 71, 64 and 69 at The Els Club Copperleaf.
Fichardt said: ÂThis is a huge honour and caps off an awesome couple of months. I didnÂt really think about this happening so itÂs all a bit overwhelming at the moment.Â
It might be his opponents who feel overwhelmed at the Telkom PGA Championship, however.