Van Zyl prepped for Mauritius challenge

World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play - Round ThreeJaco Van Zyl declared his “season starts here” as he fine-tuned his game in preparation for this week’s AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

The 37 year old had high hopes for 2016 after finishing a career-best 21st in the Race to Dubai last year, courtesy a handful of impressive performances in lucrative events, namely the Open de France, where he was third, and the Turkish Airlines Open, where he was runner-up.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work on my short game these last couple of weeks that I’ve had off,” said Van Zyl. “That isn’t really like me – normally when I take a break I take a break. So I’m just really excited to test it out and get in the swing of things,” he said.

“My season starts here this week. There are a couple of majors coming up and hopefully the Olympics. I’m playing three events in a row starting this week, so after a very slow start to the year I’m hoping to get going now.”

With strong winds forecast for the picturesque holiday isle, Van Zyl believes the 7,500-yard, par-72 course will be a tricky prospect.

“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “I enjoy playing in the wind. You need to create shots and work the golf ball a little bit, so it’s not too technical. If the wind keeps blowing like this it’s going to be a great test.

Van Zyl is currently in position to qualify for the Olympic Games – with Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel having ruled themselves out of selection – at 62nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.

“I’d love to go and represent my country,” he said.

Asked whether he would prefer a Green Jacket or an Olympic medal, he replied: “I’ve always had two dreams to play in two events – the Million Dollar Challenge (now the Nedbank Golf Challenge) and the Masters. It would be great to walk away with an Olympic medal, but I think the Green Jacket is the ultimate goal.”

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