Second-placed Carlsson closed the gap at the top of the Rankings to just €390 last week at the M2M Russian Challenge Cup and this week’s €400,000 event at Zhailjau Golf Resort is sure to play a pivotal part in the battle to follow Tommy Fleetwood and become the tour’s number one player for 2012.Lockerbie has form in this tournament and his win in 2008 at Nurtau Golf Club, the other course in Almaty which hosts this event biannually, played a massive part in his gaining a European Tour card for the 2009 season.
Neither Lockerbie nor Carlsson have won this year but have produced results at the most lucrative tournaments, namely the dual-ranking Madeira Islands Open – Portugal and St Omer Open presented by Neuflize OBC, but Lockerbie insists it will not become a duel between himself and the Swede.“I don’t look too much at the Rankings,” he said. “People remind me of it a lot but it’s not the biggest issue. I'm not just trying to beat Magnus every week and if it turned into a match play situation where we’re just trying to beat each other every week it wouldn’t be good for our golf.
“I'm sure Magnus is trying equally as hard but we just want to do our best and see where we end up. There are still loads of players who can win the Rankings and anyone who wins here will be right up there and have a very good chance.“I just want to get to the (Apulia San Domenico) Grand Final and there will probably be a few of us in with a shout so it will be exciting.”
Indeed, the 29 year old believes that there is much less pressure now that he is guaranteed a European Tour card and that could suit the laid-back Cumbrian.“I guess there’s a little less pressure because of where I am in the Rankings but I’ll still be trying as hard and it would still be great to come out on top at the end of the week,” he said. “I'm just going to enjoy myself.
“I've won the tournament before but it’s a totally different venue and they’re quite opposites as courses – the last one was tight and the scores were high but this is wider and the scores will be lower.
“It’s a lovely course. It’s very new and it’s a modern golf course. The rough is up from what the members play but it looks like a score-able course, although the greens act as a defence as they’ve got a lot of slopes.“It could be good fun if the greens firm up but it’s going to be a good week and I'm going to have to go deep.”