I have had a mixed year for my first year as a golf professional, but an enjoyable one to say the least. I have visited 5 different countries, playing in 12 events over Europe and North Africa playing on the EPD tour (European professional development tour), and played mini tours and Pro Ams across the UK.
This was mainly playing on the 1836 Tour which is a tour that is played mainly in Manchester and across the North West. As stated in my previous blog I had a tough time out playing at the start of the year struggling to make any cuts and honestly struggling with my game all together. My first 7 tournaments were in January, March and April in Turkey, Egypt and Morocco, all places I had never been before and all of which I gained great experience from playing inOf the 3 different countries to play golf in my favourite was definitely Turkey. I played 2 tournaments, one held on the Sueno Dunes course and the second held on the Sueno Pines course in Belek. Both are great courses but played very different to each other.
The dunes course was quite short with a lot of risk reward holes which could send your round either way, which I showed in my second round having 6 birdies and still managing to shoot a not so good 4 over par!! The pines course however was a longer more championship test of golf but both were great courses.
After Turkey, Egypt and Morocco I had 2 weeks back home to work on my game and try and gain some confidence going into 2 events in Austria in the last couple of weeks in May. I had met a group of English and Scottish players in my first few months playing on the tour, we tended to all stick together, going out for dinner and playing practice rounds together etc.
I roomed with one of the English players in Egypt and then a Scottish player in Morocco, who I also roomed and shared a full trip with in Austria. We got along great and had a great trip, we landed in Vienna and had to drive around 2 hours North West right up to the border of Czech Republic to a course called Haugschlag Golf Course. I played okay in the first round but didn’t score that great shooting 2 over par, however my game felt good so I felt I could shoot better on day 2.
Through 9 holes of the second round I was 1 over par and 3 over for the tournament which would miss the cut so I knew I had to play better on the back 9. I birdied the 10th and 11th holes missed a short birdie putt on the 12th then birdied 13, 14, and 15 and finished the back 9 in 5 under par and 4 under for the round making the cut. I didn’t play aswell in the last round however shooting 6 over par in tricky conditions but the tournament was progression in my season.
The second tournament in Austria was around and hours drive south at a course called Adamstal Golf course and is without a doubt in my top 3 courses I’ve ever played, and had the most incredible scenery which you can see on some of these photos. However after the practice round (in the photo, right) the weather turned sour. Thunder and lightning for two days straight and the tournament got reduced to one round rather than three and I missed out on the money by one shot! I was rather relieved at the end of the day though, as it was looking tight to get to my flight on time with all the golf delays, but got there just in time to come back home, it was a long few days…
I played one tournament in Germany in June but decided to play much more mini tour golf back in the UK to get my game up to scratch and gain some confidence. I played in 6 one day tournaments in July of which I finished in the top 3 three times and played nicely in the other three, which was nice to get some consistency in my game.
In August I went across to Northern Ireland to play in a challenge tour qualifier (challenge tour is the step above the EPD tour), a unique opportunity for any professional to try and qualify for the NI challenge tour Open later in the month. Only the Top 3 qualify for the event but I thought it would be a good chance and again a good experience for me to play. I finished 5th overall missing but I played nice and gained a lot from the trip.
Following this, I played twice more on the EPD tour in Germany and played well but more of my success from the year has come back home in the last few months. I played in a Ladies Pro am at my home club Abbeydale golf club in September, where Male or Female professionals play with three ladies as a team playing a better ball for the team score and the professionals have an individual competition. We had a great day finishing 5th as a team and I managed to come tied 1st with a good friend of mine James Maw, shooting 67. One of the ladies in our team was Powerstar’s Louise Mardapittas (Team Captain)!
In October I went back to the EPD tour school to try and give me full playing rights and priority in tournaments for 2015 and finished 25th with the Top 40 gaining full playing rights for 2015, which was nice to take some pressure off for next year. Over the last couple of months I have played my best golf all year, I have played very consistent and my game feels good so I am looking forward to taking that into the start of next year where I will be competing on the EPD tour in January in Egypt and Morocco in February. For the time being I am playing in a few Pro Ams and 1 day tournaments up until Christmas on the 1836 tour where I am leading the Winter order of merit, as well as practicing and working on my game.
I would like to thank everyone at Powerstar for their support throughout the year and into the next few years. I hope everyone has a good Christmas and a Happy New Year.