Lombard learning from Open lessons

2016 Sun City Challenge: Day 1Zander Lombard might have had a poor start to this week’s Sun City Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club, but he wants to make a better attempt to sort things out in the second round.

That’s because he wants to get back to Europe soon and move inside the top 60 on The European Tour’s Race to Dubai and earn himself a spot in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which now forms part of the lucrative Final Series on that tour.

“I definitely want to secure my European Tour card,” he said after his opening round of 13-over-par 85 at Sun City, “and a great bonus would be to get into the Final Series and play one of those tournaments back home at the Gary Player Country Club.”

Lombard has been playing on invitation in Europe after his second-place finish behind Haydn Porteous in the Joburg Open, a finish which also got him into his first major championship at The Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club last month.

“It was a fantastic experience for me,” said Lombard of his share of 66th with a total of 11-over-par. “Just being there with all the spectators and stands was an unreal feeling. I’m happy I made the cut but I was disappointed with the end result. It was a good learning curve. Making the cut in my first major was quite a big goal. I had a little bit of bad luck in the draw but that’s The Open for you – you’re going to have bad weather some day. I managed it well and it was just a fantastic experience.”

Being back in South Africa has given him the opportunity to evaluate how his time has been. “It’s nice to be back in the sunlight,” he said. “The eight weeks in Europe was a successful trip. I’m very happy with my performances.

“I had a top-10 and I had a chance to win a few and I just needed to play better on Sundays. I played really well in Austria. I definitely should have won there because my game was on and I had a bit of luck on my side. I just didn’t give myself enough opportunities. And even in Germany, trying to catch Henrik Stenson was also fun, but playing 36 holes on the final day caught up with me.

“But it’s been an all-round good learning experience,” he added.

Now he just needs to learn from that disastrous start at Sun City if he’s to come back to play the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November.


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