'I feel like I've broken through mentally this year' - Brocket Hall golfer Tom Shadbolt on Challenge Tour qualification
PUBLISHED: 16:41 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:41 02 November 2016
Tristan Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org
It was 'third time lucky' for Tom Shadbolt as he booked his spot on next year's men's Challenge Tour circuit - and it could get even better for the Brocket Hall golfer should he have a good couple of weeks at European Tour School this month.
Shadbolt shot his way to tied 14th place at the Alps Tour’s grand final event, played at Miglianico Golf & Country Club in Italy just under a fortnight ago, to secure a top five Order of Merit berth – the required qualifying rank – for the first time.
With three events to go this campaign, the 28-year-old was lying in 10th position in the Order and once again looked set to miss out on a place on the second-tier circuit, one below the coveted European Tour.
However, a late resurgence saw him charge back into contention.
A superb weekend effort at the 2016 Alps Costa Del Sol in Malaga saw him win the event by three strokes and he followed it with fifth place at Italy’s Abruzzo Open, played at the same course as the tour final, to put him back in the hunt for a qualification spot and the rest is history.
Shadbolt told Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I knew going into the event that there were only seven guys playing for the last four spots so if I could keep it together I’d do enough.
“I didn’t have the best opening two rounds. I was one-under-par overall and I wasn’t where I wanted to be.
“I managed to pick my game up in the final two rounds though and it was enough to get me over the line.
“I was 90 per cent sure I’d done enough when I got back into the clubhouse after my final round and so it proved.
“I’d say it was third time lucky because I missed out on the top five by 1000 Euros in my first full year on the Alps Tour and then by just 300 last year.
“I knew I had to do something special in the final three events of the season if I was going to get into the top five because I wasn’t that close but I got the results I needed.”
He added: “My mentality has been the biggest key for me this year.
“I feel like I’ve broken through with the belief and the mental side of the game and it’s something I want to keep on at.
“Whatever happens from here on in, I think I’ll have a successful year next year.”
Shadbolt and club-mate Mark Laskey now have a guaranteed Challenge Tour spot but there could be one final twist before the end of the year.
He continued: “Mark and I are entered into the second stage of European Tour School and a good first week there [the event is currently taking place this week] would get us into the final stage which is being played at PGA Catalunya.
“It’s for all the players who have lost their European Tour status and are hoping to win it back.
“We’re all fighting for 25 cards at the end of the final stage week.
“I’m just looking to play solidly. I’ve already finished fifth in the first stage so a top 10 finish in the second and final stages and instead of playing Challenge Tour next year I’ll have full European Tour status.
“It would cap an amazing year for me.”