Walkley ready to take next step up

Darren Walkley Picture: Andrew Griffin
Darren Walkley Picture: Andrew Griffin
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

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Darren Walkley passed his first test and is ready to accept the second challenge as he bids for EuroPro Tour glory.

The Hayling Island Golf Club amateur heads to Frilford today to take part in the final stage of Qualifying School for the prestigious professional competition.

There the two-time Hampshire Order of Merit winner will test his talents against some of Europe’s top golfers as he bids to win a place on the tour.

And joining him in Oxfordshire will be Corhampton’s former Walker Cup ace Neil Raymond, Portsmouth Golf Centre’s Tom Wade, and Marco Penge, from Golf@Goodwood.

All four will be bidding to make the cut after 36 holes over today and tomorrow, with the best 80 players going forward to Thursday and Friday’s final two rounds.

Walkley booked his place at Frilford after finishing tied-13 at one of six qualifying competitions.

He finished on five over par at The Player’s Club, Codrington, to safely book his passage to the next stage of the event.

A round of 74 was followed by a score of 73 as the 25-year-old made the cut by two shots.

Walkley still has amateur ambitions and has his scheduled mapped out for the season ahead.

However, he admitted he was determined to make the most of his Qualifying School experience and was keen to make the step up to the pro ranks.

‘I entered Qualifying School for the EuroPro Tour mainly looking for the experience,’ said Walkley.

‘It’s mainly about opening up another door but if I do well it is likely I will turn pro.

‘In life, it’s good to have plenty of choices and paths to follow.

‘I will be keeping my amateur status for now and have a amateur schedule planned until August.’

The reigning Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Channel Islands amateur champion added: ‘The course at Codrington was ridiculously wet

‘But I had a good caddy in my mate Sam Mendoza.

‘He’s a member there so had a bit of local knowledge.’