Liam Johnston up for challenge in bid to get back on European Tour

Liam Johnston is among seven Scots playing in the Limpopo Championship - the opening event of the 2020 Challenge Tour season
Liam Johnston is among seven Scots playing in the Limpopo Championship - the opening event of the 2020 Challenge Tour season
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Liam Johnston starts his bid to bounce straight back on to the European Tour as part of a seven-strong Scottish contingent breaking new ground on the Challenge Tour this week.

In a first, the second-tier circuit is being staged in South Africa, where the Limpopo Championship starts a three-event swing.

It marks Johnston's return to the Challenge Tour, where he won twice two years ago, after losing his main tour card at the end of last season.

"It feels good to be getting started after a nice break," said the Dumfries man, who graduated to the main circuit along with Bob MacIntyre, David Law and Grant Forrest at the end of the 2018 campaign.

"I decided to give myself a proper off season before the start of this year and it’s been good to have an extended period of time to work on things.

"Though I will play the odd European Tour that fits into my schedule, the main priority this season is the Challenge Tour, and knowing I have won twice at this level before is something that gives me massive encouragement."

Johnston joins two new Challenge Tour card holders, Euan Walker and Daniel Young, in this week's event, which also features Ewen Ferguson, Bradley Neil, Craig Howie and Sunshine Tour player Doug McGuigan.

"Before the New Year, I was working a lot on bettering my swing technique to help me become more consistent off of the tee," added Johnston.

"It has been something that really got highlighted to me on the main tour last year that needs to be better.

"After the New Year, it’s been more on scoring aspects of the game and the mental side to be ready for tournament golf.

"There's a good group of Scots again on the Challenge Tour with a good mix of experience. I think it will be another successful year for Scottish golf at all levels."

Walker, who is the newest professional recruit in that group, is hoping a happy memory from his last visit to South Africa will help him get the new season off to a flying start.

Referring to a success from just under a year ago, he said: "I won the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek, a success that helped me finish my amateur career with a Walker Cup appearance.

"I think that good weather conditions help to bring out the best of my game, so hopefully that’s the case again this time."