David Drysdale going in the '˜right direction'

David Drysdale is looking to use his latest strong South African showing as a springboard for a big season on the European Tour.

David Drysdale enjoyed playing with world No 2 Rory McIlroy in the BMW SA Open third round. Picture; Getty Images

The 41-year-old Cockburnspath man finished joint-seventh in the BMW SA Open, won by Graeme Storm in a play-off with world No 2 Rory McIlroy.

It was the 27th top 10 of Drysdale’c career, earning him Euros 22,457 to go with the Euros 18,580 he picked up for finishing joint-11th in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last month.

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“As always, I’ve really enjoyed South Africa,” admitted Drysdale. “My wife, Vicky, and I love coming here as we stay with friends, sample the red wines and eat the best steaks from the braai.

“I feel my golf is heading in the right direction and I’m now looking forward to playing the next three weeks in the Middle East.”

Drysdale’s week at Glendower Golf Club included playing with four-time major winner McIlroy in the third round, an experience he really enjoyed.

“I’ve not played with Rory for about six years, so it so good to see how he plays the game,” added the former Dunbar assistant, who sits 25th in the Race to Dubai after the opening three events. “As always, he was an absolute gentleman to play with - and he hits it miles!

“He holed his second shot on the seventh hole on Saturday and I almost followed him on the par-5 eighth, where I hit my second shot with a hybrid from 240 yards to six inches.

“It was great to finish in the top seven, especially after having a month off. I played flawless golf on Thursday and Friday.

“On Saturday, I didn’t strike the driver as well as the first two days, but I’m just a perfectionist, as I’m usually very straight of the tee.”

It was a family affair as Vicky was on caddying duties, having filled that role occasionally over the past couple of seaons.

“It was an amazing experience for her to caddie in the group with Rory in front of all those people and for her to see how Rory plays was a great experience as well,” he admitted.

“The crowds were fantastic this week and it was so great that Rory played, which was massive for the tournament.”

Drysdale’s closing 69 for a 13-under-par total included his third eagle in three days at the eighth while he was equally delighted to finish with a gutsy par.

“I hit a 3-wood of the tee at and had a 5 iron in but was kind of blocked out by the trees and the ball was above my feet in a dip on the fairway.

“I caught it a but heavy and it came up short, leaving me with a tricky up and down. My chip shot was poor, leaving it 18 feet short, but I sunk the putt and that felt good.”

Drysdale has now moved on to the Middle East for this week’s Abu Dhabi Championship and is being joined there by Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren, Scott Jamieson, Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher for their first outings in 2017.

The Scottish contingent could rise to seven by the time the event gets underway on Thursday as Duncan Stewart is currently first reserve.