DUBAI (Reuters) - Less than a decade ago Andy Sullivan was stacking shelves in a provincial British supermarket but now the 28-year-old father is 36 holes from a fourth victory on golf’s European Tour and a further $1.33 million in prize money.
The ebullient Sullivan carded a second straight 66 on Friday to reach halfway at the DP World Tour Championship – the European circuit’s season finale – on 12-under 132 to lead by one and stands four ahead of tournament favorite Rory McIlroy.
Such exploits are far removed from his amateur days, when he would work the early shift at the Asda supermarket in his home town of Nuneaton before turning professional in 2011.
“This is my dream and I’ve always wanted to do it,” Sullivan told reporters when asked why he played so often with a smile.
“If I can’t enjoy that, what can I enjoy? If I can’t enjoy it, I’d best go do something else. Go back to stacking shelves.”
Sullivan has dropped just one shot over two rounds on Dubai’s earth course, which contrasts with a topsy-turvy 2015 that has included three tournament wins - two in South Africa and another in Portugal – plus 10 finishes outside the top 60.
That inconsistency means he is taking nothing for granted ahead of Saturday’s third round.
“There’s a lot of good guys going to be chasing me, so for me it’s just try and do what I did today, be patient and try to play my game and not worry about anyone else,” said Sullivan.
His cause has been helped by “Team Sully”, a group of about 30 friends and family from Nuneaton who have been providing vociferous support in Dubai.
“It’s probably a key part of me playing well this week because they just keep going,” added Sullivan.
”Even when you start hitting a few wayward shots, things start going, the adrenaline gets going and absolutely fantastic.
“They have followed me about six or seven times this year and every time they have been there, I’ve done pretty well. So I think I am going to have to start paying for them to come out every week now.”
Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Ken Ferris