Darren Wright has proved that a winter of hard graft away from the golf course has not hampered his hopes for the new season with an impressive display in his first event of the year.
The former Hampshire amateur recently joined the Golf at Goodwood stable as an ambassador and sealed third place in the Players Tour event on the Park course with a two-under-par round of 70, which included five birdies.
It was more than I would have earned working that day!Darren Wright
Ashford-based Liam Harper took the £1,000 top prize with a six-under-par 66, while Corhampton’s Neil Raymond (73) and former Ryder Cup player, Nick Dougherty (74) were also in a quality field of 30 players.
But Wright, who has been saving up to finance a new season on the EuroPro Tour by working in his father’s property development business since the end of last season, proved it has done him no harm as he gets himself prepared for the new campaign.
Wright said: ‘I entered it purely because it was at Goodwood and as I’ve become attached there, I thought it would be good to show the members what I could do.
‘It was a last-minute thing really.
‘A few people have noticed my result, so it wasn’t a bad thing.
‘I mentioned it to my dad when I was at work, he gave me the day off and caddied for me.
‘It was £200 for entry, but I won £350 for coming third so I came out with £150 profit.
‘It was more than I would have earned working that day anyway!
‘I know I have been playing well in practice but to do it with a card in my hand under pressure, especially when there are a few more eyes on you, was a big boost of confidence.
‘It was only a small field but there were some pretty decent players in there.’
Established in 2012, and played on England’s top 100 Championship and classic courses, the Players Tour provides a platform for current and up-and-coming PGA and Touring professionals to compete against their fellow pros.
Wright said: ‘It was a good event and I played quite well. The weather was good and the conditions were pretty easy so it was there for the taking really.
‘Two under par was probably the worst I was going to be.
‘It felt like I dropped at least four or six shots out there.
‘I had five birdies, three bogeys and it should have been better because I had four three-putts and only birdied one of the par fives.
‘The greens were really quick for this time of year and a few of us struggled on them.
‘But I was pretty happy with the result.’
There was also an added element of competition between two of the leading Hampshire amateurs from recent years, who have since joined the pro ranks.
Wright said: ‘Neil (Raymond) is a good friend of mine from down the years so it gave me some pleasure to beat him!
‘I will probably see him around a few times on the EuroPro Tour this year, so it will be good if we can both do well.’
The next event on the Players Tour is at Moor Park in Herfordshire in April, while the EuroPro Tour kicks into gear in May.