THE Walker Cup may have provided the proof Scott Gregory needed to convince last year’s Amateur Champion he was ready to turn pro less than two weeks ago.
But he insists the presence of five of his 10 team-mates on the Algarve will not distract him from the job in hand.
For the first time the scorecard and pencil in his hand will record a score which after 36 holes of the Portugal Masters will decide if he comes back to his Hampshire home with a pay cheque in his hand.
And Gregory, who has played in three of the last six majors as an amateur, is fully prepared for the moment he hits his first shot at Vilamoura’s Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club when he tees it up in the first group out at 8.40am on Thursday.
He said: ‘It’s obviously nice seeing the Walker Cup players here this week, but this is a new chapter in our lives.
‘We’re all trying to get off to a quick start and from experiencing life on tour this year in some events I’m not expecting to be spending long chatting.
‘We’re at work this week and I have gone about my preparation and then maybe we will meet in the evenings with some of the guys.
‘The Walker Cup is something I’m glad I waited for. It exceeded my expectations – I will remember the record crowds.
‘I was totally comfortable within them and I played some great shots.
‘The thing I will remember most is the bunker shot I holed in the Sunday foursomes playing with Jack Singh-Brar – and my singles match against Maverick McNealy on Saturday.
‘He’s a proper gentleman of the game and I wish him all the best in his pro career.’
Appearances at the Open, the Masters at Augusta, and the US Open – which many seasoned European Tour pro’s never get to play in during their careers – will ensure Gregory will not be daunted when he faces some of Europe’s top players.
He has yet to sign a professional deal and is keen to see how he progresses when he heads to the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in November, having been exempt from stage one because of his world ranking.
– Andrew Griffin