Rowe cashes in at SA Open

On the final day of the South African Open, golfer Lyle Rowe signed for a level par 72 and with it the biggest pay day of his career in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event.

Rowe (24) finished in a tie for 13th with his eight under par 280 and earned just over R150 000 for the four days—effectively doubling his season’s winnings and lifting him to 46th on the order of merit.

“It was nice to play well in a co-sanctioned event with a lot of quality players in the field,” Rowe said on Tuesday.

He was more than pleased with his significant earnings for the week.

“That was my biggest pay day by quite a long way, so it’s nice to make some money and have a good Christmas, I suppose.”

Under pressure
Rowe posted the early clubhouse lead in the second round at nine under par and would have felt the pressure on top of the leader board with the likes of Retief Goosen and Ernie Els lurking behind.

Not exempt for the tournament, Rowe had to earn his spot by winning in a playoff.

“My goal was to get exemption status where I didn’t have to qualify for any events whether it be the Africa Open or the Dunhill [at Leopard Creek] but also many of the winter events are quite tough to get into to.”

“Those are the ones you have to take advantage of, with the [small] field sizes and so to not have to qualify for the winter events now is a big help with travelling costs and everything.”

Despite his good performance at the South African Open, Rowe missed out in pre-qualifying at Leopard Creek the week before.

“I missed out by one shot basically,” he said.

‘Confidence boost’
Having played much of his golf on the Sunshine secondary tour, the Big Easy Tour, Rowe said he had learned from the one victory he had earned.

“Just playing continuous and competitive golf, and obviously getting a win out of there, was a big confidence boost,” he said.

“Knowing that you can actually get it done under pressure is the main thing.”

Rowe said he hoped to play well at the start of next season’s summer tour events to build on his 2011 performances.

“I need to get off to a strong summer tour.

“I didn’t play very well at the beginning of this year, so I have to play well in the two co-sanctioned events and build on from where I finished off and hopefully bag a couple of wins at the end of the year.”—Sapa

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