27th January 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf
IGT’s Mowat has 100,000 reasons to smile
JOHANNESBURG (27 January 2014) – The 31 players who earned their passage for the 2014 Sunshine Tour at the Qualifying School on Saturday each had a reason to celebrate, but Callum Mowat found himself with a 100,000 reasons to smile after a tie for third in Bloemfontein this weekend.
The 21-year-old Modderfontein golfer led a pack of 25 IGT Pro Tour players that secured their playing privileges on the country’s main Tour this season. While everyone left with newly minted cards, Mowat also pocketed a cheque worth R100,000, sponsored by the country’s leading development Tour.
Mowat secured the bonus with a tie for third alongside 2013 IGT Tour winners, Haydn Porteous and JC Ritchie, as well as Sunshine Tour pro Makhetha Mazibuko.
The quartet finished four strokes behind the winner Juan Langeveld, another IGT Tour competitor and two strokes off the pace from Drikus van der Walt, who campaigns the IGT KZN Tour.
The rookie was dumbfounded when IGT Pro Tour commissioner, Cois du Plooy, presented him with the cheque.
“This is a dream come true for me on so many, many levels,” gushed a delighted Mowat.
“I wasn’t giving my game the attention it needed, but playing the IGT Tour changed my career. I was so irritated when I couldn’t break the top 20 in my first event at the end of July, but in retrospect, it was just the kick I needed to get my mojo back.
“I knuckled down and tied for third in my second start. A week later, I won the Southern Cape Open on the amateur circuit. That’s when I made winning the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School my target and I thought nothing could beat the feeling when I achieved that goal.”
Mowat notched up six top five finishes and a victory in the nine events, all the while gaining the consistency and confidence he would need in Bloemfontein.
“My coach Robbie Steward and sports psychologist Maretha Claassen were also highly instrumental in my preparation, but I believe the highest praise must go to my parents.
“They really invested so much emotionally and financially in my career. It was fantastic to say…’Mom and Dad, my rookie season is one me’. It’s priceless… the best feeling, ever.”
Mowat joined nearly 250 hopefuls in Bloemfontein for the 90-hole qualifier.
“All the guys out there were challenging for the top 30 spots and the competition is really, really tough,” he said. “But, between the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School and the South African Golf Association (SAGA), they gave me all the experience and confidence I needed.”
SAGA selected Mowat for the SA team that continued the country’s unbeaten record in the African Amateur Golf Teams Championship in Swaziland. He also boosted his world ranking by winning the Swazi Amateur Open and, in November, Mowat and Gerlou Roux also represented the country at the Juan Carlos Tailhade and Argentine Amateur Championship.
“I was so proud to be selected and it was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “I am so grateful to SAGA for the chance to play against top international amateurs so close to Q-School and to Cois and his team at the IGT Tour for giving us this Tour to play on.”
Over the last couple of years, the IGT Pro Tour has run an annual Race to Q-School where pros and amateurs compete in a series of events and the IGT Tour pays the entry fees for the leading players.
“This year we funded the entry fees for the top 12 guys,” explained Du Plooy.
“In addition to the R72,000 entry fees, this year marked the first time that we offered an added incentive to fuel their motivation in golf’s most gruelling test with an additional sponsorship of R100,000, payable over 10 months, to the leading IGT Tour player at Q-School.
“The criteria for eligibility was a minimum of seven events and a ranking inside the top 60 on the 2013 Order of Merit. Callum not only won the Race to Q-School, but he also finished fifth on the final rankings, having played only 14 events.
“Callum’s story really illustrates what our Tour is all about. Our mission is development and to help good players become Tour players. We are truly excited to be helping a player of his calibre get his foot on the ladder by giving him financial assistance this year.”