16th December 2013 | IGT Challenge Tour
Mowat takes IGT dozen to Sunshine Tour Q-School
JOHANNESBURG (16 December 2013) – Top South African amateur Callum Mowat is optimistic that his remarkable rise on the IGT Tour in the last five months will take him to the paid ranks in 2014.
The country’s number eight ranked amateur won the IGT Tour Race to Q-School Order of Merit last week and earned his passage to the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in Bloemfontein from 21-25 January, courtesy of the IGT Tour’s R72,000 Race to Q-School sponsorship.
“As part of our development initiative, the IGT Tour will be covering the R6,000 entry fee for each of the top 12 players from the final Race to Q-School standings,” explained IGT Pro Challenge Tour commissioner, Cois du Plooy.
The 12-event Race to Q-School series launched in September and each event had an average field of 90 players. Mowat lifted the Order of Merit title on the back of a victory and six top five finishes in nine starts since the series launched in September.
In addition to achieving a greater level of consistency by competing against the pros on the country’s premier development tour, 21-year-old Mowat also toasted success on the amateur circuit at the Southern Cape and Swaziland Amateur Championships.
The Modderfontein golfer played three additional IGT Tour events and claimed nine top five finishes in 12 starts.
“Cois (du Plooy) really has something going with the IGT Tour,” Mowat said. ““Competing on the IGT Tour gave me new focus and desire. We play top courses, the set-up is tough and there are always a bunch of guys under par, pushing you to do better.
“On the amateur circuit, you only see a leaderboard when you sign your card. Seeing a leaderboard on course really kicks you to step it up and lift my game.”
He attributes his rapid improvement to a combination of factors.
“I put the work I did with my coach Robbie Stewart and sport psychologist Maretha Claassen into play against the amateurs on the national circuit and the pros on the IGT Tour. I definitely gained in confidence, focus and patience and my course management and has definitely improved.
“The better I did on the IGT Tour, the better I played on the amateur circuit and I was given great opportunities by the SAGA. I was part of the winning team at the African Amateur Golf Teams Champs in Swaziland and Gerlou Roux and I came fifth at the Juan Carlos Tailhade. I still have a way to go, but I got much more out of the last five months than I bargained for.”
Lean Boezaart, winner of the series finale at Glendower, agreed with Mowat.
“I turned pro at the end of 2011, but couldn’t keep my card,” said the qualified chartered accountant, who finished second on the final Race to Q-School Order of Merit.
“I was working full-time doing my articles before I turned pro and I wasn’t prepared for the pressure that comes with the pro ranks. After a season on the IGT Tour I’m ready to face the future.
“Deloitte & Touche sponsored me in my rookie season and kept on sponsoring me to play the IGT Tour this year and work full time with my coach, Dougie Wood. It’s such a great feeling to be able to tell them that this year the Q-School fees are on me.”
Robbie Lupini, another ex-Sunshine Tour player, won twice in the Race to Q-School series at ERMP and Wingate and also feels ready for another stab at the pro ranks.
“I lost my card and I battled with a recurring knee injury and eventually had surgery last year,” he said. “This season has been all about getting back to competitive form. I’ve been able to compete almost every week on the IGT Tour and played 11 of the 12 Race to Q-School events. I really feel ready to take another stab at the Sunshine Tour again.”
The remaining players who qualified for the Qualifying School sponsorship include Rae Mackie, Otto van Greunen, Pieter Kruger, DK Kim from Korea, James Searson, Gideon Pienaar, Jacques de Villiers, Coert Groenewald and Brenden de Lange, who won the Race to Q-School Modderfontein.
The Sunshine Tour Qualifying School will be contested at Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs and the leading 30 players and ties will Category 13 status for the 2014 Sunshine Tour season.