Clarke Lutton is relieved to still be in the running for an Asian Tour card after fearing he’d come up short in the first part of the circuit’s Qualifying School in Thailand.
The 27-year-old, who grew up in Aberdeen but has lived in the Middle East for more than half his life, joins Paul Doherty in flying the Saltire in the final stage starting tomorrow in Hua Hin.
Doherty, a former Scottish Boys’ champion, secured an exemption for that through his efforts on the MENA Tour last season, but Lutton has already come through a 72-hole test to keep his card dreams alive.
“Getting through stage one for the first time is a great achievement,” he said of finishing joint-22nd with a three-over-par 287 total at Springfield Royal at the weekend.
“I came into Q-School full of confidence after working hard with my coach, Justin Parsons, the director of instruction at the Butch Harmon School of Golf in Dubai, for the past month.
“My iron play was solid last week and I drove it really well but, on the final hole of the last round, I had a 15-footer to make birdie, which I left a couple of inches short right in the jaws.
“I honestly thought that I had missed out at that point and, as you might imagine, my feelings were of disappointment and sadness.
“But, within 30 minutes of me finishing, I had moved inside the cut mark and eventually progressed to the final stage, so my feelings had changed to delight, joy and a bit of relief.”
Lutton, who turned professional in 2009 and has his PGA qualifications, is based in Dubai, where he landed his maiden MENA Tour victory by winning the Golf Citizen Classic last October.
“My thoughts for the final stage are to simply keep doing what I’ve been doing over the past six months,” he added. “My game is in great shape and I know that, if I play my normal game, it will be good enough to secure my Asian Tour card.”