Malone’s Matthew McClean is happy with the form he has shown in the early part of the year as he looks to keep his Masters preparation on track as his date with Augusta edges ever closer.
McClean has been part of the Golf Ireland panel in South Africa where he has advanced to the quarter-finals of the South African Amateur Championship after finishes of 16th in the African Amateur and 8th in the South African Strokeplay.
The US Mid-Am champion plans to step up his preparations by jetting Stateside early next month but insists he is pleased with how his game is trending ahead of his Masters and major championship debut in April.
“Pretty good start to the year so far, it’s great to get to the quarter-finals this week obviously looking to win a few more matches over the next couple of days.
“I’ve had a good couple of weeks out here so far, 16th in Leopard Creek and 8th last week in the Strokeplay so playing nicely. First few tournaments of the year really so nice to get off to a good start and obviously with the preparation being for the start of April with the Masters so it’s good to get a bit of competitive golf in.
“It’s nice to play a bit of good golf as well and it’s about getting a little bit sharper for the upcoming tournaments and it should be good.”
McClean breezed through 36 holes of stroke play qualifying before edging Charl Barnard on the 18th in Round One of the matchplay stages.
Wins over Pascal Gunther (3&2) in Round Two and Christaan Heyman (4&3) in the last-16 have booked him a quarter-final tie with Daniel Bennett and he hopes to maintain his level of performance in a format he is so accustomed to.
“Format wise we are quite used to the stroke play, just got to get through, don’t make any big mistakes and get through to the matchplay and then take it one match at a time, hole by hole. Every match will be tough and they get harder as the days go on.
“Looking to play pretty similarly to the last few days and see how the week finishes.”