Cumbrian golfer Gary Lockerbie eyeing Challenge Tour success
Last updated at 12:30, Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Gary Lockerbie has already ruled himself out of winning this week’s Credit Suisse Challenge – but reckons he can still become Challenge Tour champion.
The 29-year-old Cumbrian pro’s position at the top of the order of merit will come under threat in Switzerland as two of his major rivals for the Challenge Tour crown are also in action.
Lockerbie is determined to hold off the threat of Magnus A Carlsson and Simon Wakefield, but he admits a week off has left him feeling ring-rusty which could wreck his chances of victory.
The rest of the top six – Andreas Hartø, Phil Archer and Raymond Russell – are also part of a strong field for the 160,000 euro event, starting tomorrow.
Lockerbie, who posted a maiden victory in the 2008 Kazakhstan Open, has three top five finishes under his belt this season, which have put him on target for a return to the European Tour next year.
The Penrith golfer would love to cap an impressive year with a victory, but feels the Credit Suisse Challenge has come too soon for him.
“I haven’t come out to Switzerland expecting to win,” said Lockerbie
“I’m happy with where I am at the moment and I have been playing with confidence.
“The couple of guys who are right behind me are here this week so I will be trying to beat them and stay at the top.
“I had a week off from Challenge Tour last week so I’m a bit cold. I’ll be happy to get four rounds under my belt and make a few quid as the most important thing is getting some money on the board.
“There will be a win in there somewhere for me, but not this week. It will probably come in the middle of a run when I’ve been playing for a few weeks.
“I’ll be happy to make the cut this week and then have a decent finish. I think the guys who shoot six, seven and eight-under on a daily basis will do well. If I continue to putt as well as I have been, then I will put some decent scores together.”
Lockerbie finished second in the 2008 Challenge Tour order of merit but he believes Europe’s second tier tour is much tougher this time round.
He collected his biggest cheque of the season – 55,500 euros – when he finished second in last month’s Saint-Omer Open in France.
Securing a return to the European Tour after losing his playing privileges two years ago is his number one aim this year, and being crowned Challenge Tour champion would simply be a bonus.
Lockerbie, who is sponsored by PBMUK Racing for Britain through Penrith businessman Paul Bird, said: “A lot of people are talking about the number one spot but there is no more advantage to finishing top than if you finish second or third.
“It would be nice to win but when finishing second in the order of merit was just as satisfying.
“The standard is much better than in 2006 when I first played on the Challenge Tour.”
First published at 11:25, Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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