Darren Wright has targeted Walker Cup selection later this year after a promising start to his Australian adventure.
The Rowlands Castle star grabbed a creditable seventh-place finish at the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship with a four-under par final score in the 72-hole event at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
The 22-year-old is one of six England squad members who have headed Down Under for the winter to get some competitive action in before the start of the new domestic season.
Corhampton’s Neil Raymond is also linking up with the travelling party for part of the schedule, which will culminate in the Ashes battle in Sydney next month.
But Wright is determined to make the most of the trip, using it as a springboard to a productive season, with the amateur team clash against the USA in Royal Aberdeen in September on his agenda.
Justin Rose and Sam Hutsby are the only Hampshire-based players to have played in the Walker Cup and Wright is keen to follow in their footsteps.
Wright said: ‘My main goal for the year is to play in the Walker Cup in September.
‘I have put myself in a great postion and I want to make sure I have a better year this year so I get to play in the event.
‘This year I would like to represent my country as much as I can, win the EGU order of merit, win another big event, perform well in Australia with a win and then move on to getting my European Tour card at the end of the year.
‘In the first week, I had 21 birdies and an eagle and only shot four under par, so I know I’m playing well. I just need to tighten up the game a little.’
Wright secured the biggest win of his career in the Brabazon Trophy last season – the England amateur strokeplay championship – and he believes that victory has given him the extra belief to repeat that success.
He said: ‘Before the Brabazon win I was getting a lot of top-10 finishes but I knew deep down I could win a tournament.
‘The amount of confidence and self belief you get after actually winning a tournament – let alone the biggest strokeplay tournament in England – is amazing.
‘I now turn up to every tournament knowing I am good enough to win, not just thinking I am good enough to win.’
But before he can hopefully turn his attentions to the Americans later this year, Wright has the Aussies in his sights.
He said: ‘The Ashes will be a great experience.
‘To beat the Aussies after we have beaten them in the cricket would just rub salt into the wound.’