Rowe set to go

Lyle Rowe has recorded four top-10 finishes in the last two months and is set to contest the Sunshine Big Easy Tour Championship presented by Stonehage at Copperleaf Golf Club in Gauteng come Wednesday.

The top 30 earners qualify for the Tour Championship, and with a R250,000 prizefund, which counts towards the Order of Merit race, Rowe is ready for the cherry on top.

The tour, named after three-time major winner Ernie Els in recognition of his continued commitment to the development of the game in South Africa, ran through 10 events ahead of the Tour Championship with players contesting R100,000 purses over 36 holes.

Players who received their cards at the Sunshine Tour 2011 Qualifying School played in Bloemfontein last year, and the top 30 at the Vusi Ngubeni Strokeplay played in Johannesburg in January were eligible to play on the tour, as were those who finished from 71st to 150th on the 2010 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

The Port Elizabeth Golf Club professional took his first professional win at Benoni Country Club in August after shooting consecutive rounds of 69 before beating Vaugh Groenewald in a playoff.

The Benoni win, coupled with four further top-10 finishes on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour, earned Rowe his spot at sixth on the Order of Merit.

Rowe has made a steady September buildup to this week’s event, finishing 10th at the Northern Cape Classic and tied second at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final.

His two main threats to victory come from consistent performers Dean Burmester and Ockie Strydom.

Both players have four top-10 finishes and will be determined to take a win in the tour’s maiden season.

Aside from prizemoney, the win at Benoni gave Rowe experience, which could well prove valuable this week.

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