GEORGE Murray sets out at Leopard Creek today trying to change his spot after the Fifer suffered the cruellest of blows at the European Tour Qualifying School a fortnight ago.
While there was joy for Callum Macaulay and Gary Orr in Girona, the six-round marathon ended in agony for Murray after a double-bogey six at the final hole cost him a card.
For the first time in three seasons, the former Scottish Amateur champion is now having to rely mainly on invitations to get into European Tour events, as is the case in this week’s Dunhill Championship on the edge of the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
And, having tried to forget about one of the biggest disappointments of his career as quickly as possible, Murray is determined to make the most of his appearance at a venue where he has done well in the past.
In last year’s event, played slightly earlier than this time around, the 29-year-old from Anstruther secured second spot, two shots behind home winner Garth Mulroy, and also earned a place in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship a few weeks later.
By going one better, Murray would instantly earn his spot back on the European circuit and he is determined not to dwell on the gut-wrenching blow from his last competitive outing.
“The Tour School was hard to take,” admitted Murray, who had been in the all-important top 25 and ties at PGA Catalunya from the opening round and was still there until he suffered his final-hole disaster.
“However, all I can do is get my head down and try to play well in weeks like this when I get a chance. As a golfer, you get a lot of setbacks, so it’s not as if I haven’t had to deal with this sort of thing before.
“I don’t know how many starts I will get in 2013 but I was lucky to get an invitation this week. It was due to Charlie van dyk, a guy who I’ve played with in the Dunhill Links and who lives here.”
Murray, who found himself involved in the Tour School scramble after finishing 155th in last season’s Race to Dubai, added: “As always, the course here is in good shape so I’ll try and recall positive memories from last year.”
Scott Jamieson, fresh from his win in the Nelson Mandela Championship last weekend, spearheads an eight-strong tartan army in Malelane.
Marc Warren, David Drysdale, Peter Whiteford, Callum Macaulay and Scott Henry have also stayed on for the second leg of a pre-Christmas double-header in the Rainbow Nation while they have been joined this week by Craig Lee.
Charl Schwartzel, who won in Thailand last week, and Louis Oosthuizen, start as favourites in the event.