After playing eight weeks in a row on the European Tour, David Drysdale is returning home to work on his putting on a new outdoor green.
The Cockburnspath man ended a globe-trotting start to his 2016 campaign by finishing joint-15th behind Louis Oosthuizen in the ISPS Handa Perth International.
It was Drysdale’s best performance of the season so far and now he’s taking six weeks off to prepare for his next chunk of events, starting with the Sergio Garcia-backed Spanish Open at Valderrama in mid-April.
“I’m disappointed with the season so far,” declared Drysdale. “I’m sitting 66th on the Race to Dubai after nine event, which isn’t great if you look at the stats.
“I’m seventh in greens hit in regulation and fourth in fairways hit, so I should be well on the way to keeping my card.
“It’s putting that is my biggest problem and if you can’t hole putts, you can’t compete - simple!
“That’s what I’m getting an outdoor putting green built in the garden at home and I’m going to work my socks of to improve my putting.”
Pamela Pretswell reckons her first top-10 finish in 2016 topped the handful she chalked up on the Ladies European Tour last season.
The reason the 26-year-old was so delighted to claim a share of eighth behind Korean Jiyai Shin in the RACV Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast in Australia was that she was in danger of missing the cut after an opening 77.
“I’m delighted with my performance this week,” admitted Pretswell. “Indeed, it is possibly one of my best with my comeback after that first round.”
The excellent effort also came in the Scot’s first tournament since she’d been forced to pull out of the New Zealand Women’s Open after six holes in the final round with a back injury.
That then led Pretswell to sit out the Australian equivalent as she was unable to play in a qualifier for it in Adelaide.
“I felt a little unsettled in my opening holes on day one,” she said of being four-over after just six holes.
“I was worried about my back etc, but then got settled into my round and then only dropped five shots in my next 66 holes.
“I played great golf when I needed to on Friday (for a 70) and made some late birdies to make sure I was in comfortably.
“I was happy to have the opportunity to climb the leaderboard over the weekend and delighted with the climb in tough conditions.”
Referring to rounds of 70, 71 and 69 for a five-under 287 total, the 2012 Curtis Cup player added: “I scored the same as the winner on day two, three and four and had the joint lowest weekend total so that gives me a lot of confidence.
“I wanted to bounce back quickly after such a disappointment in New Zealand, so I am very happy to have done that so quickly and can now look forward rather than thinking about what could have been in NZ.
“I now have a few days in Brisbane before flying to China on Saturday for the World Championships at Mission Hills 10-13 March.”
National coach Ian Rae has admitted Scotland had a “tough” week in the European Nationals Cup at Sotogrande in Spain.
Bidding to repeat a 2014 win in the same event, Scotland were represented in Spain by Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), Grant Forrest (Craigielaw), Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten) and Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock (Barassie)).
Their hopes of victory, however, were hampered straight away when Ferguson was disqualified afrer signing for the wrong score in the first round so all three counting scores in each round had to come from his team-mates.
In the end, the Scots finished fifth on 908, 26 shots behind winners Ireland, who claimed victory by 10 shots over France.
MacIntyre, last year’ Scottish Amateur champion, finished joint-sitxh in the individual event, won by Irishman Jack Hune, after rounds of 70 80 69 78.
McDonald finsihed 14th while Forrest was 28th.
“It was a tough week for every player in the event,” said Rae. “The weather was tough all week, with really high winds every day. Six-hour, which kind of killed the feel of the event as they had to finish every round the following morning, also made it tough for everyone to handle.
“The scoring was extremely high due to the wind and the tough flag positions on really fast, slopy greens.”
He added: “With Ewen getting DQ’d, it was always going to be hard for the Scottish team to win, so fifth place was credible.
“Bob played some great golf to be in the last group on the last day while 14th from Jack was also decent in a strong A category event.
“Jack Hume’s 64 on day two was one of the best rounds I’ve seen as no one came close and set him up a for a good win.”
Rory Franssen from Inverness led the first round of qualifying for this week’s Sanlam South African Amateur Championship in his first tournament appearance in South Africa.
Franssen opened with an eight-under-par 64 at George Golf Club to lead the 36-hole stroke play qualifying by three strokes.
South Africa’s Aubrey Beckley continued his good form with a 67 to join another Scot, Kirkhill’s Craig Ross, as Franssen’s nearest challengers.
Ross was tied for the lead with three holes to play before making a double bogey on 16 and a bogey on 18.
Although the stroke play qualifying is really not an accurate reflection of what could materialise in the main match play section of the tournament, the early presence of the Scots at the top of the leaderboard won’t go unnoticed by the rest of the field.
Scottish golfers have won three of the last five Sanlam SA Amateur Championships, and last year they achieved a double when Greig Marchbank won the Proudfoot Trophy awarded to the winner of the 36-hole stroke play qualifying and countryman Daniel Young took the Sanlam SA Amateur title.
“Scotland has a good record out here and I’m just trying to live up to it really and learn from the other players in the Scottish team,” said Franssen, who as a member of the Scottish Under-18 squad is making his debut on South African fairways.
“The standard here is great. There are so many under par scores and it’s a great learning experience for me.”
Ross comes into this tournament having finished tied third in the recent African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek, and says he’s confident about his chances this week.
“I’m hitting the ball really well and I’m looking forward to the match play. The Scottish golfers just seem to really like this event. The course is great and very different to what we’re used to.
“But I think what makes this such a good grounding out here is that the course conditions out on Tour are pretty much just like this. You also get out here and see the scores are low and know you’ll have to shoot some low ones if you want to win.”