Cape Town - Englishman Andy Sullivan has targeted a South African double in the Africa Open at East London Golf Club after capturing the 104th South African Open Championship in January.
Sullivan tied local hero Charl Schwartzel in regulation play at Glendower Golf Club and triumphed at the first extra hole of a sudden-death play-off.
Having broken his maiden European Tour duck, the Englishman carried his form to a top 20 in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and a tie for fourth at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Now the 28-year-old from Nuneaton is heading back to South Africa and wants to follow 2010 Africa Open champion Schwartzel into the winner’s circle in Buffalo City, reports sunshinetour.com.
Sullivan missed the cut in his first start in 2012, but sealed a joint fifth place a year later with solid rounds of 70, 70, 69 and 68. The English golfer is understandably confident of mounting a bold bid to become the first international winner when the eighth edition of the R14-million event unfolds from March 5-8.
“I am playing very well at the moment and it would be great to get another win under the belt early in the season to boost my Race to Dubai and world golf rankings,” Sullivan said after a recent top 50 finish at the Malaysian Open.
“Adding the Africa Open title to my tally and pulling off a European double in Africa would be absolutely great, especially since the South Africans seem to have an iron-grip on this tournament.”
Sullivan enjoyed his previous trips to Buffalo City, especially the support from the crowds.
“The course is one of those typical old style golf courses where there is a lot of risk and reward, but you have to think your way around it,” Sullivan said.
“There are a lot of interesting holes and it suits my eye and my game. I like the fact that there are a couple of drivable par-fours, too, because it makes things interesting.
“I really enjoyed the crowds in my two previous starts, because they really get behind the golfers, no matter what nationality. The fans just love being out there with us and getting treated to some great golf. I’m back with more experience, more consistency, more patience and the confidence to know I can get the job done, so hopefully another good week is waiting.”
Sullivan will lead a strong international assault at the local challengers.
Former Open champion Darren Clark and a band of European Tour winners including Gary Stal andAlexander Levy from France, Danes Thorbjorn Olesen and Morten Orum Madsen, Scotland’s Marc Warren and fellow Englishmen David Horsey, Daniel Brooks, Chris Wood, Oliver Wilson and David Howell are among the current entrants heading to East London this March.
No entry fee will be charged for spectators who want to catch the action at East London Golf on Thursday the fifth and Friday the sixth March.
Tickets are R25 for adults and R10 for pensioners and children under 18 on Saturday the seventh and Sunday the eighth of March and can be purchased at entrance gate at East London Golf Club.