Darren Wright is hoping to taste international glory once again after surviving a chastening experience in last week’s Lytham Trophy.
The 22-year-old from Rowlands Castle will be in the England side that takes on Spain at The Berkshire this weekend alongside Corhampton’s Neil Raymond.
But both men tackled a fearsome test of links golf at its hardest at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club last week, with winds estimated at between 30-40mph destroying scorecards and leaving one player in the field carding a second-round gross 98 for a nett 100.
Wright picked up a creditable tied-14th finish but his four-round total of 30 over par told its own story on the conditions and the difficulty in playing next year’s Open Championship venue.
Raymond’s total of 38 over par was good enough for tied 34th in a field of 141 players from the cream of European amateur golf, where the cut was made at a staggering 16 over par after two rounds.
Wright said: ‘I’ve played in as hard conditions maybe twice before in my life but never round such a hard course.
‘Even when it’s not windy, the course is the toughest we’ll play all year.
‘An okay score was eight over par but you could easily shoot 10 or 12 over if you found a few bunkers.
‘The par is 70 but the standard scratch on a normal day is 76 even if there’s no wind.
‘The wind was unbelievable and there are so many bunkers round there.
‘No matter what you did, it was so tough to stay out of trouble.’
Jack Senior, of Heysham Golf Club, took the title with a 19-over-par total – a record high winning score for the event.
Wright, who was also suffering with a virus to add to his difficulties, was philosophical about the tournament and believes it gives him more experience as he chases Walker Cup selection later this year.
He said: ‘I wasn’t feeling too great either so it’s given me some confidence that I can do it even when I don’t feel 100 per cent.
‘With five holes to go, I was in fourth place but then the last five holes are the toughest and the wind was in the direction you didn’t want.’
With a bit of luck The Berkshire will provide a less challenging venue for the showdown with the Spaniards, as Wright targets a move into the professional ranks next year.
He said: ‘Hopefully, it will be a bit easier this weekend!
‘It’s another cap for my country, which is always good, but the Walker Cup selectors will obviously be looking at it.
‘My aim, since I’ve been a kid, is to play in the Walker Cup.
‘It’s the pinnacle of amateur golf and I’d love to finish my amateur career with that before I turn pro.
‘All my work this year is aimed at getting into the team and I feel I’ve got a great chance.’