Lyle Rowe now has two Sunshine Tour wins.
ON BEING A TOUR PRO FROM PORT ELIZABETH It hasn’t made nancial sense for me to leave the Eastern Cape. I don’t have a sponsor so it would be more expensive for me to live in Gauteng. But I like the lifestyle in PE. It’s a laidback and friendly city, and I play and practice at three ne courses – PE Golf Club (where I’m attached), Humewood (a true championship layout) and Wedgewood (a recently revamped layout). My dad owns a driving range (Walmer Woods) and we often travel up the coast to our holiday home at Kenton-on-Sea, where I have started SUP (Stand-Up-Paddle) boarding, which is fun and good for my tness. ON TURNING PRO WITHOUT A STRONG PEDIGREE I wasn’t the best amateur, but I’m proof now that you don’t have to be. If you work hard enough and have the self-belief that you belong out there, you can succeed. I didn’t have a good rookie season in 2009, but in 2010 I went to the UK and played on a payand-play satellite tour where prize money is generated from entrance fees. I stayed with friends and scrounged together enough money for a few months of tournament play which really toughened me up as a pro.The pressure of living week-to-week dependent on how you play is not for the faint-hearted.
ON WHAT HE HAS LEARNT MOST
Patience is the most important word in tournament golf.You simply have to grind it out when things aren’t going your way – particularly if you start a round badly. There is always more time than you think to compose yourself and recover well. When I rst turned pro the amount of pressure I placed on myself at the start of a round was quite ridiculous. But that’s what you learn with eight years of experience.
ON HOW QUICKLY THINGS CAN TURN AROUND
All it sometimes takes is one week in golf to change everything.The 2014 Zambia Sugar Open is a perfect example. I had missed the cut in Swaziland the week before, was really low on con dence, and didn’t see the point of travelling out of the country to go compete. But I changed my mind at the last minute, got on the plane to Lusaka, started the tournament eaglebirdie, and three days later scored my rst Sunshine Tour win.You just never know in this game. But I do know that you have to put yourself out there – just keep playing.
ON PLAYING IN THE SA OPEN AS AN AMATEUR
I was 19 when I quali ed for the 2006 SA Open at Humewood. My back was troubling me heading in to the pre-qualifying, so I hit 2-iron o the tee at Walmer CC and made it. It was quite nerve-racking. There was obviously expectation from the locals and I received a lot of media attention.There was a terri c eld at Humewood that year including Ernie Els, Retief Goosen,Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman, so it was amazing to play in my national open at home.The weather was uncanny, hardly any wind for four days in summer – that never happens in PE! I would have loved it if the wind had blown as I know how to play in those conditions. I missed the cut, but it was the highlight of my amateur career.
ON LIFE AS A TRAVELLING PRO
There really are some characters out there. I’m good friends with Englishman Steve Surry, who is a terrible traveller, always getting things mixed up or lost. In April he ew out to the Zambia Open from Heathrow, but had to go via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to connect to Ndola. But he got on the wrong bus on the tarmac in Ethiopia and ew to Gabon! He phoned the tournament secretary from Libreville to say he was going to miss the Pro-Am, but made it in time for the tournament.
In full flight at Humewood in his hometown of Port Elizabeth.
Lyle Rowe is sprayed with the sponsor’s brew by fellow Sunshine Tour players after winning the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open in April.