HATS OFF!

Lyle Rowe now has two Sun­shine Tour wins.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life - In­ter­viewed by Barry Havenga

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.

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