SCOTT GREGORY is confident he still has not peaked this season as he prepares for the biggest challenge of his fledgling professional career at the final stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.
The Corhampton ace finished in a share of fourth spot at the second stage at Desert Springs, in Almeria, in southern Spain, on Monday, posting a total of 12-under par for 72 holes.
Now he has moved on to Lumine Golf & Beach Club, west of Barcelona in the troubled Catalunya region, with caddy Garry Evans to prepare for the six-round shootout which starts on Saturday.
He said: ‘It was one of those weeks where each day I had something missing but scored well.
‘My best ball-striking day was in round one and the worst was the following day when I shot seven under. I hit it okay and putted amazing.
‘The course was good but very fiddly and to be honest not my cup of tea apart from the greens obviously.
‘My advantage is being a straight driver of the ball, but you only needed to hit driver maybe two or three times – so I lost an advantage there.
‘I’m looking forward to playing at Lumine where it looks like I can pull more drivers out.
‘It was a good week at Desert Springs, but stressful.
‘It’s one of the toughest weeks mentally I’ve ever played so next week is going to be an amazing challenge but one I can’t wait for.’
There are just 25 places and ties offering an automatic card on next year’s European Tour, which would guarantee him around 18 starts.
It would not get him into any of the majors or some of the biggest events on the schedule, such as the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
But by completing the first 72 holes – before a cut which sees the top 65 play the final two rounds on Wednesday and Thursday – Gregory will be guaranteed a playing card for the European Challenge Tour in 2018.
And should he make the cut, but fail to finish in the top 25 to earn a full European Tour card, he would get the maximum satellite tour starts.
Gregory focuses a lot on fitness as well as working on his game with coach Simon Andrews, who is based at Portsmouth Golf Centre, on the Eastern Road.
It is a punishing schedule for him now but he is confident he can cope.
‘I’m fit enough to do it – it’s just about managing myself and my eating and training well,’ he added.
‘Luckily the European Tour physio unit is on site so I can get some treatment and get fresh for the week.
‘From what I can gather, I’m now guaranteed category 15 on the Challenge Tour but I’m obviously looking at a top 10 to get full European Tour rights for next year.
‘A cut after 72 holes is going to be strange but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.’