For the Sunshine Tour professionals events such as the Alfred Dunhill Championship present a great opportunity to rise up the Order of Merit before the end of the year. Titch Moore is looking to climb the money list and his weekend at Leopard Creek will play a crucial role.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the South African guys playing these events because of the big purses. I knew I had to buckle down and try to make a couple this week,” he said.
The seven co-sanctioned events that Moore qualifies for this year are rare chances, and his South African Open Championship campaign was cut short by a bout of chicken pox. After a week of rest he came to the €1,5-million Dunhill Championship desperate to do well.
“I had a pretty good first round last week and then found out I had chicken pox. I was man-down for the whole week and got here on Saturday and had only managed to play nine holes before the tournament started. I was feeling a little bit ‘iffy’ yesterday. These are big events and I put a lot of pressure on myself after missing the first one,” he said.
Rounds of 71, 69 ahead of the cut have given him a real chance to make big money, and now the weekend at South Africa’s number one ranked golf course looms.
“It’s definitely the best course in the country. It’s the kind of course where playing nicely gets rewarded and playing badly means that you’ll make a number,” he said.
A 16-year veteran of the Sunshine Tour, Moore has been through highs and lows at Leopard Creek. Halfway leader Charl Schwartzel, who headed into the weekend on eight-under, has shown the value of having course knowledge through his two wins and three second-place finishes at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Moore has had some good rounds at the course, including a first-round 66 in 2009 and a second-round 64 in 2006. This Friday he added another good score to the collection as he made his way around in 69 blows for a four-under-par total at the halfway mark.
Two rounds remain at his second-last tournament of the year, and the Port Elizabeth local has been in his current position enough times to know how to capitalise before time runs out.
“The leaders don’t seem to be too many miles away and I’ve played nicely around here before – I think I shot 64,” he said. “I’ll look for a couple of rounds in the 60s and try to pop myself up that Order of Merit.”