McGuigan fired up for Sishen challenge

Doug McGuigan may have just celebrated his 41st birthday, and he struggles to remember any details around a tournament he won at Sishen Golf Club in 1986. But ahead of this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament, McGuigan is more focused than ever as he prepares for the next phase of his career.

The Johannesburg professional has fond memories of Sishen Golf Club, where he won his first senior amateur tournament in 1986. He turned professional three years later and has won four times on the Sunshine Tour, the last being in 2009.

But with age has come a newfound appreciation for his profession, and McGuigan believes now is the time to maximise his potential.

“If you look at the world at the moment, nobody is guaranteed in their jobs. It’s not an easy place for many people. But we’re fortunate to be playing golf for a living. I’ve realised how fortunate I am to be doing this, and I figured I’d rather use my opportunities,” he said on Tuesday.

It’s a process he hopes to tee off with a successful trip to the European Tour’s Qualifying School at the end of the year.

But before then lies the challenge of negotiating a Sishen layout which is one of the finest in the country.

The 18-hole course, designed by Robert Grimsdell, is beautifully shaped through a kameeldoring forest. And with a strong wind blowing this week it should provide a serious challenge.

“I have very good memories of this golf course. This is one of those courses that has always stood the test of time. The scores are never that low here. It rewards precision golf and you can’t afford to hit it sideways here.”

Jean Hugo is also in the field this week, returning to a course where he finished second in this event last year.

Hugo is hoping to put behind him the disappointment of a back nine collapse in the last Vodacom Origins tournament at the Wild Coast, which cost him a title that went the way of Darren Fichardt.

Michael Vlismas

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