Zander Lombard made his only Open appearance in 2016 after qualifying via the Joburg Open and he cannot wait to tackle a course regarded by many as the most difficult on the Open rota.
‘It’s every golfer’s dream to play in a Major,’ he told the Sunshine Tour website.
‘I played at Royal Troon in 2016 by qualifying at the Joburg Open and it was amazing. It’s what we play for, to play in the best Majors.
‘I know Carnoustie well and I’m really looking forward to getting over to Scotland to see what the course is like after some hot weather. I think it will be a great test. The history of Carnoustie is so rich and some of the world’s greatest players have won there.’
Lombard makes the trip to Scotland thanks to his T6 finish at last week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation where his nine-under-par 279 total left him five shots behind the eventual winner, Scotland’s Russell Knox.
His finish in Donegal would have come as a welcome relief for the 23-year-old, who has experienced many challenges on the golf course this season. Before last week’s results, he missed six consecutive cuts and his best result was the share of 21st he got at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth in February.
Such struggles, however, will mean very little when Lombard seeks to overturn the T66 finish he obtained two years ago at Royal Troon when he was just a rookie. On talent alone, one can easily bet on Lombard to turn the tide and start producing good results to match the good golf he plays, but it takes more than that to win the oldest open championship in the world.
Currently sitting 98th on the Race to Dubai after 19 events, Lombard knows he will have to work hard to get into that top 100 to comfortably keep his European Tour playing card and if he is able to play the kind of golf he played last week, then there might be something for him at Royal Birkdale in a week’s time.
Credit: Sunshine Tour