DESPITE the long European Challenge Tour season beginning to take its toll, Lorenzo Scalise is still in the fight for a top-15 spot as the Road to Mallorca visits China for this week’s Hainan Open.
The Italian is currently 33rd on the Road to Mallorca rankings, with the lion’s share of his 46,322 points coming courtesy of a second place finish at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil.
He returns to Challenge Tour duty this week with the invaluable experience of an appearance at the Italian Open last week, a Rolex Series event, at Rome’s Oligata Golf Club.
Scalise has learned a lot during his maiden season on the circuit and with three events remaining, he is delving into the energy reserves for a shot at a big finish when the Hainan Open gets under way at Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club, on Thursday (October 17).
“I started the year early on the Alps Tour and won an event there and then played my way on the Challenge Tour. It’s been a long season,” said Scalise.
“I’m trying to learn how to travel, how to save energy and stuff like that. I feel like I’ve not got much left in the tank, but I’ve got to hold onto it because there are three big events left.
“I don’t really want to set goals for the rest of the year. Obviously getting into that top 15 is the goal you have at the start of the year. But right now I’m just trying to have three good, solid weeks.
“I feel like I’ve not had a really good week in a while, but I’ve been playing good enough,” Scalise added.
“I really feel like it’s around the corner, but I just need to do everything I can to put myself in position to play my best golf.
“If that’s the case, then I’m pretty sure I can get into that top 15,” said Scalise, who lost a play-off for the European Amateur, with Kent’s Alfie Plant, at Walton Heath Golf Club, two years ago.
The University of Tennessee graduate is visiting China for the first time and, on first impressions, the island of Hainan reminds him of a place he once called home.
“It is my first time in China,” Scalise said. “It’s cool – this part of China actually reminds me of the US.
“I know it’s pretty similar to Hawaii in terms of the vegetation at stuff, but I actually really like it.
“I slept well on the plane on the way here, I think that’s the trick. I think the worst part is going back to Europe but I actually feel pretty good.
“I like the course. I’m coming from the Italian Open where the course was a lot tighter so this is a completely different setup this week.
“It’s a bomber’s paradise, to be honest. There isn’t a whole lot of rough.
“There are just a lot of bunkers that you’ve got to carry and take advantage of that – so I think it’s going to be pretty low scoring.
“The fairways are pretty wide, so you don’t have to be that accurate, but if you’re long, then you have shorter irons in and the rough isn’t that bad.
“As long as you hit bombs that are in play, then you’re good.”
Scalise will begin his Hainan Open at 8.30am local time on Thursday, with the first group of Matthew Baldwin, Raphaël de Sousa and He Shaocai getting the tournament under way at 7.10am local time.