Wright seals win playing ‘blind’

Sarah and Alaric Pugh in the Market Place in Clare ANL-150403-100914001
Sarah and Alaric Pugh in the Market Place in Clare ANL-150403-100914001
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

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Darren Wright has explained how he chalked up his first win of the new season on a course he had never even seen in the flesh.

Now attached to Golf at Goodwood, the former Rowlands Castle man and ex-Hampshire amateur claimed the top prize on The Players Tour event at Royal Ashdown Forest.

It’s the first time I’ve played a tournament without a practice round but it seemed to work

Darren Wright

His four-under par round of 68 included seven birdies and was enough to earn the £850 winner’s cheque.

And it was all the more impressive considering he was playing the course blind, having missed out on practice rounds because of work commitments in his father’s property development business.

Wright said: ‘I played really well and I’d never played the course before.

‘I couldn’t go for a practice round but it wasn’t really a problem.

‘I did my homework and looked up the course on the internet the night before and took a few notes.

‘But I thought myself round the course.

‘The course was quite bouncy so I didn’t need the driver and hit a lot of long irons and rescue clubs off the tee.

‘It’s the first time I’ve played a tournament without a practice round but it seemed to work.’

The 26-year-old also believes his unusual method actually helped him as he avoided any nasty surprises out on the course.

‘Normally you would play the course at least once before,’ said Wright.

‘But although I am working for my dad, I don’t want to take the mickey and take too many days off.

‘It was a mental challenge to see if I could get round a course where I hadn’t done so much preparation.

‘But I played sensibly and tried to take advantage of the par fives.

‘There were one or two blind tee shots but you could work it out.

‘I didn’t get myself into much trouble and thankfully I didn’t find any hidden ditches or anything like that.

‘Once or twice, I could have played a bit more aggressively but on the day, it worked out well.

‘When you have played a course before and you know there is an easy hole coming up, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself.

‘It made it a lot easier to stay in the moment and play one shot at a time.

‘Maybe that worked to my advantage.

‘But it still helps to have those practice rounds and it’s not something I will start doing now.

‘Ideally, you need to have an idea of where you want to be on each hole.

It was not the biggest prize haul of his career.

But Wright believes his game is in good shape ahead of the start of the EuroPro Tour at Celtic Manor on May 13.

Wright said: ‘It was good to get the win and a bit of extra money in the pocket before the season starts.

‘I won £850 and it’s £200 to enter, so at least that £650 profit will pay for a tournament on EuroPro.

‘It gives you that bit of extra confidence.

‘And I just need to keep that momentum going.

‘Now I’m just looking to play whenever I can and to make it as competitive as possible to be ready for Celtic Manor where there is a bit more prize money!’

If he can follow it up with another win at the World Snooker Open on the Montgomerie course next month, Wright would pocket £10,000.