Ruan ready to cap off stellar rookie season

Ruan de Smidt has played many times at Leopard Creek Golf Club, but the Alfred Dunhill Championship will be his first professional tournament there and he’s looking to end 2012 in style.

“We played here last year against Scotland in a test, and I’ve played the course many times as a junior. I’m really looking forward to my first chance as a professional, and hopefully this week I can finish with a bang,” he said.

The 23-year-old won Qualifying School at the beginning of the year and has since gone on to win the Suncoast Classic and amass R496,803.72 in the process. That puts him more that R70,000 clear in the Rookie of the Year Race, and a good result would secure him the honour of top rookie.

“It’s nice to have, but it’s not the end of the world. Right now my focus is on playing well and getting a good result this week,” he said.

At the Nelson Mandela Championship last week he finished tied 14th amongst a field including Branden Grace and Tim Clark. That certainly gave the smiley man from Krugersdorp more reason to be confident.

“I played a lot better last week and finally got the putter going. That’s my biggest cheque yet, and I’m glad that I’ve been hitting it so well recently. I feel pretty good when I look back on the year. After I won at QSchool I didn’t think it would go this well.

“It would be lekker to do well this week… it’s the end of the year and this is such a big tournament that I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can pull off a top-20, maybe even a top-15,” he said.

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