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A year ago, James Allan was working as a delivery driver, watching on as his friends pursued their ambitions of scaling the ladder of professional golf.

Despite holding a Sunshine Tour card, Allan’s previous two campaigns had been wrecked by the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving him unable to afford travel and entry fees.

Twelve months on, the Chelmsford-based 28-year-old’s career has taken on a very different look. Speaking to bunkered.co.uk, he is fresh from winning the EuroPro Tour’s Order of Merit – becoming the highest annual earner in the circuit’s history in the process.

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“I went through all three stages of Q-school a couple of years ago but with Covid that was pretty much taken away,” Allan says. “Then I had a Sunshine Tour card, but I simply didn’t have the funds.

“I was doing delivery driving four or five days a week which would take me from 9am to 2 or 3pm. Fortunately one of my friends had installed a swing studio so I was going there after finishing my shift, then going to the gym.

“I was putting in a proper shift. That gave me the fire because I know I can never be in that position again where I couldn’t afford to play.

“I was watching tournaments my friends were playing in and I couldn’t afford to be there. That didn’t sit well. If anything, it focused my mind because I knew I had to make it count.”

Allan, who cites the decision to base himself at Reigate Hill, ended the year in style, crowning his campaign with victory at the Tour Championship at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

With his ticket stamped to the second-tier circuit, one might think he would afford himself some down time. Instead, he is bidding to bypass the notoriously tricky schedule completely by making it through DP World Tour Q-school.

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“The Challenge Tour is hard. If I can miss it, I will jump at the chance,” he says. “The DP World Tour is where I want to be. If I can do that without having to play on the Challenge Tour I would be delighted.

“I’ve got Las Colinas for the second stage of Q-school and it’s a course I know well. I’m really excited to be going there knowing I’ve got some guarantees for next season.

“Every time I’ve been to Q-school before it’s been the be all and end all. With what’s happened this year, it’s even more of a pressure pot.”

Allan is, of course, referring to the shock news the EuroPro Tour would fold at the end of the season.

Over the course of its existence, it has spawned major winners such as Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel and Ryder Cup heroes in the form of Nicolas Colsaerts and Tommy Fleetwood.

Allan, for what it’s worth, reckons he has much to be thankful for but warned the development tours could become hyper-congested.

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“It took a lot of people by surprise and nobody really knows where they stand for next year,” he says. “Nobody had any idea until that day when the news broke. The tour has provided so many great opportunities down the years. A lot of top players have come through the EuroPro.

“I know of a few players who weren’t planning on going to Q-school and because of what’s happened they’re now regretting that decision.

“If the Clutch Tour can offer promotion to the Challenge Tour, it will work out but it’s going to be a lot more competitive. All of a sudden you could have 270 guys who want to be playing in the same events every week.”

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