Lorenzo Scalise is aiming to make a statement of intent on the Road to Mallorca Rankings with a good result at the Dimension Data Pro-Am from February 13-16.
The European Challenge Tour’s South African Swing comes to an end in George this week, with 180 players teeing it up alongside an amateur partner at the stunning Fancourt Golf Estate.
Players will compete for a share of the US $400,000 prize fund and a spot in the WGC – FedEx St Jude Invitational and after finishing in a tie for 42nd place at both the Limpopo Championship and the RAM Cape Town Open, Scalise is hoping to make an early move on the season-long Rankings race.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks but it has been really good,” he said. “The weather isn’t great at home so it’s great to be out here.
“The field sizes are quite big, so it isn’t the best to have to beat 210 players to win a tournament, like the previous two weeks, but it’s a really good thing to play in these conditions out here.
“I felt like I played well in the first two but didn’t finish as high as I wanted. This would be a good week to get everything together and make a move on the Rankings.
“It’s huge to have a spot in the WGC up for grabs, but the prize money and the points is what really matters to us. It’s just a bonus for everyone in the field. It would be a really cool experience but playing against 180 players across three courses, it’s going to be one hell of a fight.”
Fancourt Golf Estate is one of South Africa’s most luxurious resorts and 24-year-old Scalise has been impressed by the beauty of all three of its courses – The Links, Montagu and Outeniqua.
“I have played 18 holes on The Links, walked 18 holes on the Outeniqua and walked nine holes on Montagu, because I’m trying to save a bit of energy,” he said.
“It’s been a long few weeks because I played the SA Open on two courses, then two courses in Limpopo, two in Cape Town and then three here this week, so it’s been a lot to get used to.
“You have these different courses to learn but then depending on what side of the draw you’re on, you could play a completely different course to what you practised. There is definitely a lot of extra work to do.
“The Links is really good. I’m not the biggest fan of links golf, to be honest, but I loved it. It’s really, really good. It’s playing tough and it could play really long, but it was actually pretty easy out there today because the wind is not up, but it’s a beautiful track.”
Some of South Africa’s biggest names are playing in this week’s co-sanctioned event with the Sunshine Tour, including four-time Major Champion and former World Number One Ernie Els, current World Number 60 Christiaan Bezuidenhout and former Challenge Tour players Haydn Porteous and Brandon Stone.
Each professional will be joined on the tee by an amateur playing partner for the first three rounds, with the top 26 Pro-Am teams progressing to the final day’s play, and the amateur field is littered with star names.
Among those teeing it up in the amateur field is Shane Warne, the second most prolific wicket taker in test match cricket history, and Jacques Kallis, widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder to ever play the game. Former footballers Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen and South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar will also playing alongside the Challenge Tour and Sunshine Tour professionals.
The first round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am will get under way at 6.30am local time, with Scalise beginning his tournament at 8.40am on the Outeniqua.