Lloyd Saltman is made for European Tour

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LLOYD Saltman has been tipped to make an instant impact on the European Tour due to the fact he has the "big game" required for the long courses on the circuit.

The 25-year-old, who secured his card by finishing in a tie for 11th in last week's Qualifying School in Spain, is wasting no time launching his new career, having headed to Durban along with his older brother, Elliot, for the South African Open starting tomorrow.

Saltman's success in Girona delighted his long-time coach, Colin Brooks, who reckons the former Open Silver Medal winner deserves enormous praise for the patience he showed as it took him longer to earn his step up to the top tier than the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rhys Davies, David Horsey and John Parry, four of his Walker Cup team-mates in 2007.

They've all won on the European Tour and Brooks believes Saltman has all the attributes to make his presence felt on leaderboards, too.

"I'm delighted for Lloyd because he has had to be patient for the past couple of years. We've always known that he had the talent, but, over the past two or three years, he has lost a bit of confidence," said Brooks, who is based at the Braid Hills Golf Centre in Edinburgh.

"There's never been an issue with his swing; we've always had a handle on that. But he lost confidence with his wedge play in particular, and when you are struggling a bit your putting can be effected as well. Due to the fact he has got a high profile, it hasn't been easy for him. People were always asking him - me as well - what had gone wrong, what was the difference to a few years ago.

"He's a great kid, though. He has never let his head go down. He took all that very well and stayed positive, which isn't really a Scottish trait.

"He kept his chin up, stuck with his principles and didn't look to change his swing. He stayed with the game that made him one of the best amateurs in the world in the first place."

Saltman's success at PGA Golf de Catalunya, where he shot in the 60s in four of the six rounds, capped a strong finish to his season, the Archerfield Links player having headed into the Qualifying School process knowing he had a decent Challenge Tour card to fall back on.

"We sat down up at the Braids one day when he was a bit down and reset his goals for the last couple months of the year. He was going nowhere for a spell, but the talk we had that day helped get him motivated again for the Tour School and he had a couple of top tens on the Challenge Tour after that," added Brooks.

"I can really see him kicking on from here. This might sound silly, but I think it is better this has happened now than a couple of years ago. He'll appreciate this chance more now - he won't take it for granted.

"It's exciting to think about watching him on the European Tour as he has got a big game.At the Tour School he was hitting it past Emanuele Canonica. That's what is exciting for me.

"He has the big game for these big Tour-style courses. That's what I'm looking forward to and, if he plays to his ability, I think he can contend to win on the main Tour."

While Saltman was working with Mark Roe on his short game for a spell, he has remained loyal, admirably so, to Brooks.

"It's a real thrill to me (to see Saltman win his card]. It's one thing starting to work with a guy like Andrew Coltart and helping him regain his Tour card, as I did a couple of years ago, but this is totally different.

"You are talking about taking a 13-year-old with an eight handicap to a Tour player - that's a different kind of feeling altogether," he admitted.