DARREN WRIGHT will ignore the hype around The Open Championship this week to focus on what he considers a more important golfing event in Scotland.
While the showpiece at St Andrews will dominate the TV screens, the former Rowlands Castle man will be battling it out on the other side of the country at the Glenfarclas Open at Erl of Mar Golf Club near Glasgow on the PGA Europro Tour.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season on European golf’s third tier and has almost guaranteed his promotion to the Challenge Tour for next season.
Wright, who is now attached to Golf at Goodwood, has chalked up five straight top-10 finishes – including his maiden victory at Burhill back in May – and has earned nearly £19,000.
But while those earnings are vital to him in paying his expenses, he remains intent on claiming his place among the elite and has no intentions of enjoying the trappings just yet.
Wright said: ‘I didn’t go for Open qualifying this year because I didn’t want to let this position slip.
‘Of course, I know the Open is a bigger event but I can go for that every year. I have to prioritise.
‘Hopefully, when I have got a place on the Challenge Tour or the European Tour, I can give it a crack.
‘I haven’t splashed out on anything really. I bought a nice pair of trainers and I did treat myself to an Ipad.
‘But my main focus is to make sure all of my golf is funded. So I’m already looking towards next season.
‘I might be alright for money at the moment, but Challenge Tour is that extra bit more expensive and I might get through Qualifying School to get on the European Tour. Then it gets really expensive.
‘I’ve never really had any money before.
‘I’m in a position where I really do appreciate what I’ve got.
‘I’ve had people say “you can buy yourself a new car now” but I’ve got a car that gets me from A to B. It does the job.
‘So if a new car means I can’t play golf next year, then it’s not worth doing.
‘Almost every penny that I earn is going back into the golf.
‘But I really do believe I will get to European Tour and my game is good enough.
‘I can treat myself then when I start making loads of money!’
It’s an impressive effort from the former Hampshire amateur, who is still without a main sponsor.
He said: ‘I’ve been wearing a blank white hat all year trying to advertise the fact that I have a space for a sponsor.
‘Being on Sky Sports nearly every week in their Europro coverage, it should get some air time.
‘I’m trying to earn as much money as I can because if the sponsors don’t turn up, I’ve got to fund it all myself.’