Away from the glamour of the European Tour there are thousands of golfers trying to make enough money to support their dreams and their families. In this TG online feature we follow the highs and lows of 2011 EuroPro Tour Order of Merit winner Chris Hanson, as he tries to adjust to life on the Challenge Tour. This week it was make or break time for Chris at the European Tour 2012 Qualifying School...
Every professional golfer, and I’m sure some club golfers at some point, have wished or dreamed that one day they would own a European Tour or PGA Tour Card.
After winning the Europro Tour Order of Merit in 2011, a bright blue Challenge Tour Member’s bag tag, card and belt clip arrived in the post. I was over the moon. I had played 7 years as a professional golfer and I had finally made a progression up the ladder.
So 2012 started and the aim on The Challenge Tour was to push for the top 20 spots and a European Tour card. After a good start to the season I started to tail off and with a few decent weeks in the middle I still fell way down the rankings to 88th!
With top 80 in the OOM a good benchmark to improving my category for 2013 I was gutted to miss out. So as soon as the CT season had finished I turned my attention to the Q-School which is where I am now writing this blog.
I landed on my feet this week with the accommodation, after a quick bit of Internet searching I came across an apartment 2 miles from the course that sleeps 4! And the cost… £205 for all 4 of us! That is a result, and staying in an apartment keeps your costs at a low: cheap breakfast, make a pack up lunch and take it in turns to cook tea each evening. (I did an awesome pasta bolognese this evening, if I do say so myself).
It’s also nice to sit on a sofa and relax as opposed to lying on a bed in a small hotel with nowhere to go. Just a shame we have no English TV…
Lumine Golf & Beach Club, Tarragona, 1 hour South of Barcelona
The course this week is pretty fair, generous fairways, but lush thick semi rough if you stray off line. The greens are massive so finding them should not be too tough but pace putting on the big undulations will be very tricky.
Round 1 – 9.50 off the 1st tee:
Probably one of my best all round performances this year, I could just not find the bottom of the hole! 4 birdies and all 4 were putts inside 3ft.
Anyway 69 (-2) was a pretty solid start, hopefully I can now keep progressing in the right direction.
Round 2 – 8.45 off the 10th tee:
The dream is still alive but after shooting 73 (+2) I need two decent rounds to finish! I played steady enough today but the putter was stone cold so hopefully it can only warm up tomorrow.
Round 3 – 9.00 off the 10th tee:
The putter sure felt better today but I still did not hole much and 1 bad tee shot meant I signed for a level par 71 after taking double up my 6th hole.
It now looks like a 64 will be needed in the last round to sneak it through, but you never know… I’m just going to go out there and give it 100% and see where I finish. Just for my own satisfaction, even if I don’t qualify, I want to finish as high up the leader board as possible, as it could be my last round this year.
Round 4 – 9.10 off the 10th:
It looks like 64 would have been good enough but I had to settle for 69 (-2) I played nicely and holed some decent putts throughout the round. I definitely gave myself a good chance to shoot a low score but in the end I fell 4 shots off the mark and failed to progress to the final stage.
So my season has finally come to an end, it’s been a long year with so many ups and downs! Throughout the year I’ve been lucky enough to visit over 12 countries and have seen some fabulous places. Hopefully the blog has shared as much of this as possible with you all and you’ve enjoyed keeping track of my season.
I would just like to take this time to thank a few people – you all know who you are.
Firstly everyone who reads the blog for their kind messages and support throughout the season, thanks for taking the time to read the blogs and I hope I’ve kept you slightly entertained.
To all my sponsors once again for their continued support, I could not do it without you!
My coaches and management team for their fantastic support and help throughout the season, always there to help whenever I’ve needed a chat, swing fix or last minute flight.
Steve Tooby for his 100% commitment on the bag whenever I’ve been lucky enough to have him with me, also to the friends who took time out to travel with me and carry the bag! It really is appreciated!
And the biggest thank you in the world to my family for their support, if it wasn’t for you guys I would never have got this far! You’ve been amazing again! I can’t thank Laura enough for putting up with the roller coaster ride of being married to a journeyman professional golfer. She shares every up and down with me and that really has to be tough for her back home and I’m pretty sure I take it for granted!
It’s now going to be so nice to get home and have some QUALITY time with Laura and Jessica and really enjoy Christmas chasing Jess around the living room floor! Once Christmas is out of the way who knows what the New Year will bring and where I will be playing…
That’s exactly how it always will be for a journeyman golfer… But I will sure keep you all posted so watch this space.
Hope you all have a great Christmas and thanks again for everything!