Tom Lewis was in confident mood ahead of this week’s Sicilian Open as he prepares to tackle a Verdura Golf & Spa Resort layout that the Englishman believes plays to his strength.
The 21 year old won in only his third professional outing at the Portugal Masters last year, and believes the Vilamoura course is comparable to this week’s venue on the island of Sicily.
“The one in Portugal suited my game very well, and this one’s very similar,” said Lewis. “There’s a lot of room to hit your driver on, and you need good iron shots into the green.
“If I’m on my game, that’s where my strengths lie, so if I can hole some putts, hopefully I can have a good week.
“I got here a little bit late yesterday, so I only had the chance to play nine holes. I didn’t get much sleep on the plane and it was an early start, so I didn’t want to do too much. I played the front nine, and I was really impressed.
“It plays quite firm because it’s still a new course, and the greens are a little slower but they’re very nice to putt on, because you can hit your putts slightly firmer without having to worry about them running miles past. So I enjoyed my first experience of the course and I’m looking forward to playing it again in the Pro-Am this afternoon and then again in the first round tomorrow.”
Lewis partnered former Chelsea and Italy football legend Gianfranco Zola in the Pro-Am, before playing alongside Jamie Donaldson, who finished third last week in Morocco, and big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts in the first two rounds.
Lewis has spent the last fortnight playing in America for the first time as a professional as he continues to look to continue his meteoric rise since his record-breaking 65 at last year’s Open Championship – the lowest by an amateur in the event.
“The greens out there were lightning quick, so they took a while to get used to,” he added. “The courses at the Tavistock Cup and the Transitions were both really good, and it was a great experience to mix it with some of the best players in the world. It’s a shame I didn’t play as well as I’d liked in Florida, but it was still a pleasure to play there.”
This week’s €1million event is only Lewis’ fifth appearance of the 2012 European Tour campaign, and the Welwyn Garden City ace is determined to avoid the burn-out which brought a premature end to his superb breakthrough season.
He said: “This year is all about learning what works for me, whether that be playing two weeks and then taking a week off, or what have you. Sometimes you have to play three or four weeks in a row, which isn’t ideal for me because physically I’m not yet strong enough to control my swing for four weeks in a row.
“So my performances this year might be a little inconsistent, but hopefully the more I mature, the better I will be able to cope with the demands of life as a professional golfer. This year will hopefully stand me in good stead for next year.
“It was obviously nice last year that nobody really knew who I was, so I was able to fly under the radar a little. Now there will be a bit more attention on me, but that’s just something I’m going to have to deal with and hopefully I’ll enjoy the pressure. If I can continue to play good golf, I’m sure the attention will grow. In some ways it’s been a bit of a shock, but I’ll sure I’ll come to terms with it.”