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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Cumbrian golf ace hoping gym work pays off on European Tour

Gary Lockerbie flies out to South Africa on Sunday to put the finishing touches to his game in readiness for his return to the European Tour in the Nelson Mandela Championship.

Gary Lockerbie photo
Gary Lockerbie

The Penrith pro is in the best possible shape for the season’s opener at Royal Durban Golf Club, starting on Thursday, after shedding two stone in five weeks.

Lockerbie’s preparations for the 1m euro event have been mainly focused on gym work since he signed off from the Challenge Tour in October, but practice will be stepped up on Monday after he touches down in South Africa.

“I’ve been practising hard and working hard over the last few weeks but I have probably done more gym work than work on the driving range,” he said. “I did a lot of fitness work at the start of this year and it really paid off as I got off to a good start, so I wanted to get myself fitter and strong again.

“I’ve lost two stones in five weeks and I feel much better. About 70 per cent of players on the Tour do fitness work and strengthening and conditioning so that gives them an advantage before you’ve even set foot on the golf course. I’ve been hitting the ball OK down the range, but hitting it at a frosty range doesn’t give you much feel for things, so I’ll have a few days practising in South Africa next week.”

The 30-year-old former Walker Cup player and 2003 English Amateur champion secured his return to the European Tour after finishing fifth in last season’s Challenge Tour order of merit with winnings of 117,482 euros.

With the 2012 European Tour having only just finished, many of the top names will be resting up.

A weakened field could give Lockerbie an advantage and enable him to fulfil his target of making the cut in the first of a South African double-header with the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club the following week. “If I can have a decent week and make the cut, that would be great,” he said. “The sole aim is to make the cut and anything on top of that is a bonus.”

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