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UBS Hong Kong Open

Alfie Plant is hoping to find out soon what it’s all about

England’s newly turned pro is aiming to find his feet after missing his latest cut at the Hong Kong Open

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 9:03pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 11:35am

It did not take long for wild comparisons to crop up after then-amateur Alfie Plant clinched the Royal Birkdale Open Championship Silver Medal in July. Would he turn professional as a leading amateur just like Justin Rose did in 1998? If so, could he emulate such an esteemed career?

A few months on, newly-turned-pro Plant is sharing the course with the likes of Rose at the UBS Hong Kong Open. Things have not gone according to plan for the 25-year-old, however.

“I missed a few cuts so it’s not the start I wanted. Hopefully I can find my feet quickly,” said Plant, who missed the Open cut in Fanling on Friday. “Shame about the result but it’s my first time in Hong Kong – first time in Asia – and it’s been enjoyable.”

The reigning amateur European champion has also found it cumbersome meeting new faces since moving to the big leagues.

“I’m slowly getting used to it. I don’t know too many guys out here so sometimes I’m out on the driving range on my own, just doing my thing. Hopefully that will start to change and I’ll make a few friends.”

One alliance he has secured is with caddie Adam Rolston, who was on the bag throughout Plant’s Open campaign.

If the name rings a bell, it is because Rolston is the ex-Hong Kong rugby player who embarked on “The Longest Hole” earlier this year; a world record attempt in which the South African played golf across 2000km of Mongolia for charity.

“I’m finding out more and more about him each day,” said Plant. “He’s been sharing some stories on the course from his time in Mongolia.”

The partnership was put to the test early on as they tried to claw their way back from a poor round one finish of 77 – but to no avail.

“It was tough out there because of the wind. It could look like a good shot then it could just fall ... I don’t know how much out there is my fault or the wind.”

It is now a case of blowing off the cobwebs and finding the form he was in at the top of the year.

“I have to stick to my gameplan – there are certain things out there that I won’t be able to change – and I’ve just done a bit of work with on the range to iron out a few creases. Hopefully we’ll get that momentum on my side.”

Off the course, Plant’s trademark smile was lighting up members of the Hong Kong Blind Sports Federation, who took to the driving range to practice their swing. It is no wonder he garners so much support at home and abroad.

Blind golfers show pro Alfie Plant a thing or two

The “Team Alfie” brand truly emerged at the Royal Birkdale with 150 faithfuls following the Millwall favourite. Few made the trek to Hong Kong this time around but Plant insists the movement is here to stay.

“They’ve got to work some weeks,” he quipped. “I’ve got such a great following off the course, my friends and family follow me around the world so I’m sure they’ll be here next time.

“Quite a few of these [golfers] play on the Asia tour and it sounds really good – seems strong as well – so I’m sure I’ll dip my toes out here again.”