GOLF: Jordan seeking Tour boosters

Jordan Smith was trying his luck on the Sunshine Tour qualifying school in South Africa this week

Jordan Smith was trying his luck on the Sunshine Tour qualifying school in South Africa this week

First published in Sport by

AMATEUR star Jordan Smith hopes a spot of globe-trotting this month could open the door to the next phase of his career.

The Derry Hill player, 21, was this week competing at the qualifying school for South Africa's Sunshine Tour hoping to earn one of the prize sports on this year's tour schedule.

Smith, who represented Great Britain & Ireland in last September's Walker Cup defeat to the United States, jetted out to South Africa last week and was trying his luck at the Bloemfontein Golf Club.

Still ranked inside the top 20 amateur players in the world, Smith is then heading over to Thailand to take part in the qualifying school for the Asian Tour at the end of the month.

The Wiltshire player, who lifted the Brabazon Trophy – the English Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Formby Golf Club last June, said: “I’ve been in South Africa for just over a week now.

“I came out early to get used to the heat and the different conditions of the courses over here.

“It's just been mainly getting ready for Sunshine Tour school and a bit of a warm- up for Asian Tour School on Thailand after this.’’

Smith, coached by Simon Shanks at the Bowood Golf & Country Club in Derry Hill, admits achieving a card on either of the two tours would be a major boost to his career.

But if he is unsuccessful, he will have no qualms about returning to his hugely successful amateur career.

“If all went to plan I would turn pro and that would mean that I would be based out in South Africa for the season,’’ he said.

“But if I was to secure a card at Asian Tour School after this then I would play that tour because the money on that tour is a lot better.’’ He added: “If it doesn't go to plan then I would stay amateur for the year and play all the top amateur events that I played last season and continue with the England squad.

Smith has enjoyed a fruitful amateur career , narrowly missing out on the English Amateur Champion-ship in 2012 when he lost in the semifinals, having lead the field in the qualifying stages.

He also enjoyed a consistent 2011 by finishing fourth in the Faldo Series Grand Final in Ireland, but missed the cut in both the British Amateur Championship and US Amateur Championship last year.

However, he still did enough to become only the second golfer from Wiltshire to be selected for Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup – following in the footsteps of Swindon’s David Howell in 1995.

And Smith feels he is in great shape to enjoy a successful 2014, whether it is in the paid ranks or at the top of the amateur game.

“If anything, my form is better because I have had a good winter’s training with the England team.

“I have been working hard on my putting and getting that better than it was, because that was the one thing that let me down in the Walker Cup and some other amateur events,’’ he said.

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