27th September 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Naidoo happy with continuity in his game
Finding your feet as a rookie in professional golf generally takes some time because of the different aspects of the game that one has to get used to, and the newest member of the Gary Player Class, Dylan Naidoo, seems to be finding his.
Earning his playing privileges via the gruelling test that is Qualifying School earlier in the year, Naidoo struggled to make cuts after he made it in the Mopani Redpath Zambia Open, and the cuts he made in Sishen and King’s Cup were the first consecutive cuts he’s made in his debut season.
He is under no illusions as to the reality of his struggles, though.
“I went to college at the University of Arkansas in the States and came back about a year or two ago and my game was really in tatters,” he admitted after his opening round of seven-under 65 in the Origins of Golf at Humewood Golf Club, “I didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t know where the ball was going.”
Now, after nine tournaments and three cuts made and after that scintillating round he produced on day one in Port Elizabeth, Naidoo is beginning to feel like he belongs with the big Tour players and maybe slowly finding his rhythm.
“The last few tournaments I’ve been feeling the good golf starting to flow again and it feels like there’s a bit of momentum going on there,” he gleefully said on Thursday as he tied the first-round lead with Merrick Bremner. “It feels like there’s continuation there and I’m glad to be able to put together low scores.”
Lying a respectable 71st on the Order of Merit, he knows he needs to keep those low scores going and make a few more cuts if he is not to risk losing his card at the end of the season, and couple more solid rounds at Humewood will help. There’s one little thing, though: playing on a links course.
“I did a few equipment changes for this week,” he revealed, “and I’ve definitely decreased the loft on a lot of the longer stuff. Coming from Joburg, you know what to expect but not really – you almost have to double or triple it. So, I’ve had to do a few adjustments. But, it’s a real privilege to play here.”
Naidoo is eighth on the Rookie of the Year race where the winner will claim the coveted Freddie Tait Trophy at the end of the season.
The Gary Player Class is the Sunshine Tour’s development programme which benefits from the longstanding support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), founded in 1999 by Johann Rupert as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in a collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.