Darren Wright believes his Australian adventure can be the springboard to early-season success.
The plus-four handicapper from Rowlands Castle has just returned from a trip Down Under having played his part in putting the Aussies to the sword in golf’s Ashes series.
Wright claimed three out of four points as the English stormed to a 13-5 success at Elanora Country Club, Sydney.
But now back on home soil, Wright is preparing for the first big event of the amateur season – next week’s Spanish Amateur Championship in Barcelona.
Wright said: ‘It was a great opportunity to go out to Australia for six weeks.
‘For me, it was about keeping the competitive side of my game sharp.
‘You can do all the practice you like, but my first couple of tournaments of the year usually have a few little mistakes where you haven’t played competitively for a while so it was good to keep playing.
‘A couple of the guys went to Australia last year and got to the final of the Spanish Amateur. They hit the ground running when they came back and hopefully I can do the same.’
It promises to be a big season for the 22-year-old who claimed the Brabazon Trophy – the England amateur strokeplay championship – last summer.
And despite a few minor glitches in his game, Wright has shown that he is more than capable of finding his best after some impressive form out in Australia.
He said: ‘I was quite happy. I had a decent seventh-place finish in the Masters of the Amateurs but I should have been even better because I had 21 birdies and an eagle in four rounds of golf. There were a few course management mistakes that crept in that cost me.
‘I struggled a bit at the New South Wales Amateur because it was a hectic schedule. A few bad habits crept in.
‘But I then played a lot better in the Ashes match. There’s something about playing for your country that gives you that extra focus and I got three out of four points.’
While Wright admitted that the practice facilities didn’t quite meet his expectations, he was impressed by the courses.
He said: ‘Overall, it was a great trip.
‘It was a slightly different style of golf. The ball went a bit further and the greens were better, but it was easy to get used to wearing shorts and a T-shirt for six weeks!
‘But I like to grind it out on the range after a tournament and some of the practice facilities were a bit disappointing.
‘A couple of the courses didn’t even have a driving range, which I was surprised about, but the courses themselves were great.’
Wright is working with Cheshire-based coach Alan Thompson this week to make sure he is in tip-top condition for next week’s Barcelona battle.
But with the Walker Cup on the horizon, he admits he is paying careful attention to this season’s schedule in a bid to make the Aberdeen duel with the USA.
He said: ‘My main goal is to play in the Walker Cup in September.
‘I’m trying to play in as much as I can but not wear myself out at the same time.
‘So I’m trying to organise my schedule and find that happy medium to make sure I give myself the best possible chance.’