He also got a start on The European Tour, and it didn’t go much better for the big man: He got himself some cash with a share of 55th in the M2M Russian Open at the beginning of September.
So his opening two rounds in this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf event presented by Samsung at Vaal de Grace made him feel a lot better about his game: He carded a five-under 67 in the first round and went one better in the second, to find himself for a share of third going into the final round.
“I left a few out there but I’m playing nicely,” he said ahead of the last day. “It’s been coming for a while. I’ve been working hard at it. I’ve had a bit of a bad patch for the last few months, but it’s nice to play well and be in contention again.”
He was helped to his scores by some good putting, including a monster 45-footer for eagle in his second round. “I’m putting better now,” he said. “I think that’s thanks to playing last week in Russia on better greens. You get a bit of time to practice on good greens, and the greens here at Vaal de Grace are great. It’s nice to see the ball going in for a change.”
It was unusual to see Ahlers missing out on being in contention. “I lost a bit of confidence after the Investec Cup win,” he explained. “I took a break after that, spent a bit of time with the family and took a holiday.
“I didn’t really do much and I left it a bit too long and when I came back, I lost a bit of confidence. Losing a bit of my swing was going to happen, but if you have confidence, you can still scramble your way around a golf course. But I didn’t play that badly. I missed cuts by one or two. I just had to work through it and it’s going to go up again.”
He has some work to do in the final round at Vaal de Grace. “I’m going to have to make a few birdies,” he said. “I’m not the aggressive kind, so I’ll just do what I do. There are always wedges in which will leave with a chance to putt for birdie. There’s a low one out there.”