Flamboyant Swede Joel Sjöholm is flying high after his top ten finish in last week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic and has targeted more success in the Avantha Masters.
The 26 year old wore plus fours in the third and fourth rounds as he contended with Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello to eventually finish tied ninth.
Two impressive rounds of 66 were sandwiched between a 71 and 72, and the 2010 Challenge Tour graduate was delighted to have gained more recognition, particularly on the social networking site Twitter, where hundreds of fans congratulated him on the quality of not only his golf but his choice of attire.
“It’s been great,” he said. “Most of the reaction I’ve had from people has been about my outfits, and I’m glad about that because the outfits are really for the fans. Hopefully they start to recognise me now because a lot of people were talking about me last week.
“Without the fans the sport is nothing, so it’s great fun that people have picked up on me a bit. So many people saw me on TV last week and I had so many phone calls and texts and emails which just inspired me even more.
“It was a fantastic week. Before it my name was not very big on The European Tour. It’s only a top ten, but it feels like a lot more people are following me now. I hope people realise that the guy out there is just who I am; I’m not trying to sell a personality or crave attention or anything like that.”
The next challenge is the DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi, India, a place which holds happy memories for Sjöholm. Despite the good finish in Dubai, which earned him a cheque for €38,369, he would like to see significant improvement in his game this week.
“I actually played really poorly on Sunday,” he said. “Normally if I walk off with a top ten I feel great but on Sunday I didn’t feel good with my game. I’m still struggling a little bit. I played a practice round yesterday and it wasn’t great and I need to improve a lot before Thursday.
“But of course I’m here to win this tournament, and it feels a lot easier after playing against those guys in Dubai last week. It’s a weaker field here, but I just have to try and stay patient and see where the golf takes me this week.
“It was here that I made my first cut last year. As a rookie this was the first cut I made on The European Tour in 2011. I made a birdie on the 36th hole to make the cut on the mark, and after that I was so happy I didn’t care what I shot at the weekend and I think I finished 77-81. I was just so happy to make my first euro on The European Tour. I’m really looking to playing this course again and not making the same mistakes as I did last year.
“I’m really enjoying being in India, it’s a fantastic place. There are so many nice people here. I feel really bad to see so many poor people around, but that’s life I guess. I love the food here and the culture.
“I have a good friend who lives here who has helped me with sponsors for the last two years, so it’s going to be really fun to see him again in person and not just in my emails. We’ll have a really fun week together.”