Michael matures with SA Open

Rookie Michael Hollick has had to grind through pre-qualifiers throughout his first season on tour, but those trials have built his resilience and at the SA Open he showed just how far he’s come

“This year it was great to be in contention. Playing and going through pre-qualifiers has really helped me mature with my game this year. I’ve learned not to get too down on myself when things don’t go my way, even if I feel like I’m playing better than the way I’m scoring,” he said.

If his tied-20th result at the SA Open is anything to go by, then he’s matured a lot. Things didn’t always pan out for Hollick last week and he littered his four cards with 11 bogeys and two doubles, yet every time the drops came he kept it together. In fact, Hollick never signed in above par and tallied up rounds of 72, 71, 70, 71.

“I worked for this tournament pretty-much throughout the year. It’s a co-sanctioned event, and I wanted to be ready for those, because they have big prize money and you’ve got a real chance to make it. That course we played really separates the guys. It tests every element of your game,” he said.

Hollick’s ability to recover put him head-and-shoulders above the other young guns, most of whom hit a slippery slope once they made a big number.

“The mindset is totally different to something like pre-qualifying,” he said. “If you’re three-over with a few to play in qualifying then it’s a done deal, but in the same situation in tournament play you push to try and make some birdies and improve your score before finishing the round.”

The 25-year-old credited the Big Easy Tour for helping him when his game wasn’t on song. It’s those tournament rounds that are so often mentioned by the rookies and journeymen.

“The Big Easy kept the competitive juice flowing, even though I didn’t have that many good results on that tour. I started the year really nicely, with good results at Di-Data and Telkom and found it difficult to get pumped up for the Big Easy. Then my form slipped and those tournaments really helped me learn that sometimes my game can be ready, but things can still not go my way,” he said.

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