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Zander Lombard targets strong finish to International Swing on home soil

Zander Lombard targets strong finish to International Swing on home soil

Zander Lombard knows that Rory McIlroy will be tough to catch at the top of the DP World Tour’s International Swing standings with two tournaments left, but the South African heads into the next two weeks on home soil more than ready for that challenge.

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This week’s SDC Championship, which tees off at St Francis Links on Thursday, and next week’s Jonsson Workwear Open, both co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, will complete the DP World Tour’s eight-tournament International Swing.

The incredibly consistent Lombard is currently ranked ninth on the International Swing, with countryman Dylan Frittelli – also in the SDC Championship field this week – ranked seventh.

Among a host of enhancements as part of the new-look schedule on the DP World Tour, the leading member (not otherwise exempt) from the swing will secure qualification for the Genesis Scottish Open, the second Rolex Series event of the season in July.

While McIlroy holds a strong position at the top of the standings with just two events to play, Lombard, who hasn’t finished worse than tied 16th in his last five tournaments, says he’s looking forward to making a run at it over these next two weeks.

“The International Swing is in the back of my mind," said Lombard, who needs a victory and to finish seventh or better in his other start to overhaul McIlroy.

"It's definitely a nice incentive for the tour with these swings. A great initiative to keep people interested throughout the season.

"I’ve got a lot to do to catch Rory (McIlroy) who is way up there with points. It will have to be two good weeks in South Africa, but I’m ready for that.”

It will have to be two good weeks in South Africa, but I’m ready for that

While Frittelli has an equally good chance of making a strong push up the International Swing standings over these next two weeks, the recent DP World Tour winner said he’s trying not to make it his sole focus.

“I’m just trying to stay focused and play well through these next events," he said. "Everybody’s in town this week, including the top Sunshine Tour players.

"I know there are some cherries at the end of this stretch to get into other events, but I’m just going to keep my head down and not worry too much about that.”

The focus for this field right now will indeed be on managing a St Francis Links course that was already being buffeted by strong winds in Wednesday’s pro-am.

“It will be tricky in the wind this week. The course is playing a bit soft which makes it tricky in the breeze because you don’t get the run on those low shots. It will be a great test of distance control in the wind,” said Lombard.

Matthew Baldwin is this week's defending champion following his seven-shot victory last year.

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