Event: British Masters
Date: September 28 – October 1
Location: Close House Golf Club
TV: Sky Sports Golf – Thurs-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm & Sat-Sun 11.30am-5pm
The north-east of England brings back good memories for Duncan Stewart and the Scot hopes he can channel those vibes into a European Tour card-saving performance at the British Masters.
Two of the 33-year-old’s EuroPro Tour victories came in the region – at Longhirst Hall in Morpeth and Hunley Hall near Middlesbrough – and in driving down to Close House, he reminded himself of those achievements as he looks to continue a decent run of form in a period of the season he has traditionally performed well.
“In previous years, I’ve always played well at this time of year,” Stewart, who finished T9 at the recent Omega European Masters, told bunkered.co.uk. “It was good vibes driving down here as those EuroPro Tour wins came at around this time of year, too. So I’m coming down here with positive thoughts as opposed to thinking I’ve got just three events left to keep my card.”
Stewart is currently sitting 123rd in the Race to Dubai in what is his first full season on the European Tour. Only the top 100, plus ten from the new Access List, retain their cards for the 2018 season and Stewart is hoping to take heart from the performance of a fellow Scot – Marc Warren – at last week’s Portugal Masters.
Warren jumped more than 70 places in the standings to 100th after his runner-up finish in Vilamoura and Stewart knows that just one good week in his final three events can change the entire complexion of his debut campaign.
“It’s a good time to start playing well,” he added. “I think Marc was struggling a bit with his injury earlier this year but I played with him in the first two rounds last week and he played really well.
“To be in the position I’m in just now is obviously a bit disappointing but I know that it only takes four good rounds and all of a sudden, it can be season-changing. It would be nice to do that this week so it’s less pressure at the Dunhill and Spain but whatever week it is, it doesn’t matter as long as it gets you into the top 100.”
Breaking into that top 100 was, understandably, the Edinburgh man’s aim at the beginning of the season and he knows one of the main things he needs to keep doing in order to give himself the best chance of doing just that.
“I’ve improved my consistency off the tee in recent weeks and that’s something that needs to continue,” he said. “I’m not the longest hitter so if I’m not accurate, I’m going to struggle. Keeping it in play has allowed me to attack more flags and, if I do that, my putting has been extremely good over the last couple of years so if I give myself a chance, I know I can compete up there.”
Stewart tees off in the British Masters at 1.40pm on Thursday alongside Daniel Im and Damien Perrier.