“Back in November, I never thought I would be lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in the New South Wales Open, the Australian Open and the Dubai Desert Classic.”
It has been an absorbing past few months for 20-year-old Tom Lewis. The English amateur certainly clocked up his air miles over the winter, coping admirably to changing climates with some impressive performances around the world.
Lewis prepared for the Australian Open convincingly, after narrowly missing out on a terrific win in the New South Wales Open. In his first tour event, Lewis lost in a play-off to veteran tour professional Peter O’Malley – but took plenty of positives from the event.
“Obviously I was disappointed to lose in a play-off, but to come so close to winning was great and I couldn’t have asked for a better week,” said Lewis.
It was an encouraging warm-up to the Australian Open for the Hertfordshire golfer, and set Lewis up for more success ‘Down Under’. Ending the event as the highest placed amateur, Lewis collected the Silver Medal and finished ahead of such famous names as Greg Norman, Jon Daly and Fred Couples.
“My trip to Australia in December was great for me,” added Lewis. “I acclimatised straight away and performed well. It was great for my growth, as I plan to turn professional by the end of the year.
“I think also to know you’re going all that way around the world to play against players you watch on TV week in, week out was an extra boost for me.”
Lewis proved in Australia that he is certainly one to watch for the future. Unfazed by rubbing shoulders with golfing giants and teeing off thousands of miles from home, the 20-year-old flourished with a show of maturity and skill.
After an outstanding performance in the Australian Open in December, Lewis had just three weeks to enjoy his home comforts before jetting off back to Australia for additional tournaments.
“Unfortunately going back [to Australia] only three weeks later after being home for Christmas wasn’t something I was looking forward to that much. But I knew if I could perform like I did in December I may find myself a few wins and that would put me in good stead going into the rest of my season.
“I didn’t quite do what I wanted to, but I still increased my world ranking points and found myself ranked number three in the world. So even though I didn’t play good golf, the trip was worthwhile.”
With barely time to catch his breath, Lewis set off to compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, being given just 48 hours notice.
“I didn’t prepare the way I would have liked going into Dubai as I struggled in the four weeks in Australia. I couldn’t do anything about only having two days notice. I would have chosen to prepare at home a week prior getting my swing back in shape, but I could only go there with what I had and try to find my way around.”
Lewis played all four rounds in Dubai, finishing 59th. Given the lack of opportunity to prepare for the tournament, Lewis put in a decent performance, although the youngster sets extremely high expectations for himself and wasn’t altogether happy with his display.
“On a personal note I don’t think I performed well. I wasn’t happy with T59. My goal for the week was to be around 10 under which I felt I could do. During the weekend it didn’t come together for me, but I was pleased to have the opportunity.”
One opportunity which Lewis will have firmly on his mind is the Walker Cup. Despite the United States having won the last three it is clear that Lewis is passionate about the tournament and, if selected, he will do all he can to bring the trophy back to the British Isles.
“The Walker Cup is the biggest team achievement you can get as a GB&I amateur. As long as I perform in the events throughout this year I can only hope I will be in Royal Aberdeen with the team in September, but I will only control what I can at this moment in time.”
Whether Lewis is selected for the Walker Cup or not, it is clear that we are witnessing a player who is quickly evolving as one of the best young golfers around; a player who has the precise temperament and desire needed for a successful career on Tour.