Port Elizabeth Golf Club’s Lyle Rowe will bring a healthy dose of confidence with him to the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at St Francis Links on October 9.
Rowe, 26, came second in his last outing in the lucrative Sunshine Tour series, losing out to Andrew Curlewis on the first hole of a play-off in the Parys leg of the series on September 13.
And with the R600,000 54-hole event being played on a course that is just about in his back yard, Rowe is looking forward to taking his career one important step further .
“I play the course twice or three times a month when I’m in town,” said Rowe as he and Jake Redman – another ‘local’ – spent some time ahead of the tournament on the course getting in some extra practice before the up-country players descend on the facility.
For Rowe, the result in Parys was very important. “It was a great confidence-booster,” he said. “I’d had a couple of good results in the tournaments before that – a share of 12th at Langebaan and of 20th at the Wild Coast – and they both came in windy conditions.
“And it was windy in Parys, where the top six players were all coastal people, or people experienced in those conditions,” he added.
While the long-range forecast at this stage is predicting light to moderate winds, the effects of winds on a course like St Francis Links can’t be underestimated. “It’s useful to know the predominant wind direction,” says Rowe, “and there are places on the course where you can’t feel the wind, but it’s there when the ball gets in the air. It’s really important to know what clubs to hit.”
So being so close to home is important for Rowe, and he will be chasing a maiden victory in his professional career which started in 2009.