Darren Wright secured victory in the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship and declared: I’m ready to move to the next level.
The Rowlands Castle ace, who is bidding for a place in this year’s Walker Cup, carded a four-under par total of 284 to claim victory at St Pierre Golf Club.
His win – by four clear shots, and the only card below par for the event – represents Wright’s first victory since winning the Brabazon Trophy last year.
And with the England international’s confidence brimming following a creditable top-14 place finish in difficult conditions at the recent Lytham Trophy, Wright believes a move to the professional ranks is the next step to take.
‘I think it will be at the end of the season when I turn pro,’ said Wright.
‘I think I’ve taken everything I can from the amateur game and I’m ready to move to the next level.
‘Hopefully, I can just keep going, winning tournaments, have a good enough season to play in the Walker Cup and then go to Tour School, where you can win to play on the European Tour.
‘We’ll see what happens.
‘When I was at Tour School last year and playing against some of the pros that were there, I didn’t feel out of place.
‘The ultimate dream is to get on the European Tour.’
Wright defied some tricky conditions at St Pierre to claim victory across the border.
He carded a one-under-par 71 on the first day to put himself into the mix and supplemented it with a 72 on day two before running away with victory with scores of 70 and 71.
‘I didn’t know I had such a big lead,’ said the 22-year-old.
‘I just kept my head down and took it a shot at a time.
‘I knew I was up there and I felt like I was playing well, too.
‘It was a fiddly course, quite tricky for most of it.
‘Most of the holes were crosswind and the wind was really heavy.
‘On the last day I woke up in the morning and thought it was going to be tough.
‘I then got to two under par, and when it came to the afternoon session I thought I’ve just got to do it again.’
With a potential place in the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen in September looking increasingly likely, Wright is looking forward to the months ahead.
‘I’m buzzing at the moment,’ he said.
‘It’s hard to explain the buzz you get from winning a tournament.
‘Everything is coming together and has been over the past two years.
‘I want to use this momentum and take it into the tournaments ahead.
‘I’ve got four or five coming up and I’m so busy.
‘I think I’ll be home just two days over the next five weeks.’
Wright added: ‘I’m lucky that I’m helped out by TaylorMade and Adidas when it comes to clothes etc, but travel comes out of money that I have and what my parents afford.
‘I work for my dad in the winter just labouring, trying to get as much money as I can.
‘It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation, though, because that’s time I could be training but I need the money to compete. It’s a struggle at times’