DARREN WRIGHT has explained how he held his nerve over a tricky six-foot putt for £10,000 which has paid for his season.
The 26-year-old landed his maiden PGA EuroPro title at the Kerry London Championship at Burhill Golf Club with a brilliant display under intense pressure to claim the title by one stroke from his nearest rival, Alan Dunbar.
It probably wasn’t the putt you would really want to have when you are trying to win £10,000!Darren Wright
Rounds of 68 and 67 put the former Rowlands Castle man in control of the tournament at nine under par with a two-shot lead going into the final round.
After extending his advantage to five shots at one stage, his lead was steadily whittled away and he found himself one shot behind with five holes to play.
But after dragging himself back in front, the Golf at Goodwood man had a one-stroke lead playing the 18th as he contemplated his career-changing putt.
Wright said: ‘I was two under par through five holes, which gave me a five-shot lead at the time.
‘I was thinking “I might be able to just cruise in now” but a little mistake here and there and Alan made a couple of birdies and suddenly my lead was down to one shot.
‘Then I was one shot behind but got it back to a one-shot lead playing the last.
‘I was pretty nervous. It was a 190-yard par three with a sloping green and it was a dramatic finish.
‘He (Dunbar) had about a 30-footer for birdie and lipped out with a really good putt. I had about the same length but a different angle and knew I had two putts to win.
‘But my first putt wasn’t as quick as I thought it would be so I then left myself a six-footer, left to right and down the hill.
‘It probably wasn’t the putt you would really want to have when you are trying to win £10,000!
‘My putting was good all week and it was an amazing feeling to see it go in.
‘I had a lot of feelings going on in those final few holes.
‘I was pumped, I was nervous, I was anxious and you realise that every single shot is just so important.
‘I’ve made some changes to my swing over the years and it was all about making the swing stand up under pressure.
‘But it proved that the hard work had paid off.’
Without a main sponsor, Wright has been working in his father’s property development firm over the winter to save up some money to pay for his season.
But after deciding against any extravagant purchases with his winner’s cheque, he believes he could reap the benefits of some extra freedom.
He said: ‘To win £10,000 is a massive help because it will cover the majority of my expenses for this season, which is probably about £12,000.
‘Each week when I was handing over my credit card to pay for hotels and things like that, I knew I might not be able to get through the whole season.
‘It’s a big relief to know that I can play a full season and not worry quite so much about the money side of things.
‘Whether it will make a difference to my game, I don’t know but I hope it will.
‘To win that amount in one event is huge for me.
‘I haven’t splashed out and I will re-invest the money back into the golf.
‘I’ve bought myself a new pair of trainers, though!’
Wright will be going for back-to-back wins at Longhirst Hall in Northumberland this week.