IT IS becoming a habit. One he’d like to break, though. “I don’t think we’ll go for a hat-trick,” said Chris Doak after securing his card for the second year running through the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
A top-20 did the trick 12 months ago. This time he did it in more style. With a closing 66 for a 15-under-par 273 the 36-year-old Livingston-based player finished fifth on his own.
“I think we’ll try to make it a wee bit easier next year,” added Doak, who came into the event lying 115th in the Race to Dubai but has jumped to 71st after picking up a career-best £125,000 cheque.
In a flawless closing effort, the former Tartan Tour No 1 bagged six birdies and was unlucky not to finish with another one. At the time, it would have put him in a tie for the lead.
“It just bobbled left on me,” he said. “But, if you have a chance like that at the start of the week, you can’t ask for anything better.”
It was a timely return to form after he had gone off the boil since tying for 12th in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May. “I needed a great week this week for my future,” he confessed. “The target was a top 15 or a top ten so it’s fantastic to better that.”
Following the death of his trusty coach, Bob Torrance, earlier in the year, Doak has been working with Paul Arthur, the PGA at Canmore in Dunfermline. “I’m still working on the stuff that Bob taught me,” he said. “Paul and I grew up together in the PGA and he caddied for me.”
Indeed, what Arthur imparted to Doak about his swing in those days was exactly the same advice he subsequently got from Torrance. “Bob’s line to him was, ‘you had it right; he just had to hear it from me’. That struck a chord in my head and that’s why I went to Paul and it’s been working great.”
So, too, has feeling more relaxed on the golf course since the recent birth of his daughter, Eva. “I kept getting pictures of her in my head when I was coming up the stretch,” he revealed. “You think then ‘does it really matter if I miss or make the putt’. I think it makes the difference to any golfer having a kid because it just chills you out. I should have done this ten years ago.”