Despite experiencing the harsh realities of life on The European Tour, Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl has targeted a return to the top tier after grabbing the lead on the third day of the Scottish Challenge.
Following a round of 68 at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf and Country Club in Peebles, Scotland, Huldahl sits on nine under par, one shot clear of Taco Remkes of the Netherlands, with England’s Matthew Morris a further shot back in third.
Huldahl has already tasted life on The European Tour in 2004, having finished fourth at the Qualifying School Final just days after turning professional.
A chastening experience subsequently knocked Huldahl’s confidence, but the young Dane feels he is now better equipped to compete amongst the elite.
He said: “I’d definitely like to get back there. It came too quickly for me at the time. I turned professional just before the Qualifying School, and finished fourth in the final. So I had a good experience playing for one season on The European Tour, but it was too much too soon. I wasn’t ready, but I had to try it. I didn’t have a choice. It was a rough year for me, and my confidence took a knock. It took me a while to recover, but I hope I can use the experience if I get on The European Tour again. I think I’m ready now.”
Remkes’ flawless round of 67 was the joint lowest of the day, along with Scottish amateur Scott Henry, who is tied seventh on four under par.
The Dutchman said: “I haven’t played that well this week, but I’ve just managed to keep the bogeys off my card. I hope I keep them off tomorrow. That’s the key, particularly with the wind and the rain and the thick rough. I haven’t made many mistakes, and even though I haven’t created that many chances, I’ve taken most of them. So I’m pretty happy, because it doesn’t always work out that way.
“I’ve come close to winning twice, once in Argentina and once in Brittany. So hopefully it will be third time lucky.”
Another player targeting victory is Morris, who had looked to be in on course to join Huldahl at the top of the leaderboard, until a double bogey at the 17th hole checked his momentum.
But the man from Birmingham remains upbeat, saying: “It’s important not to press too hard round here, because you can get unstuck. I’ve got to keep playing my own game. The weather’s probably going to be a factor – it usually is up here! I can’t see it being calm and sunny, so it may come down to who handles the conditions the best. I’ve just got to stay positive, and keep going. My game’s in good enough shape.
“Perhaps in the past I’ve been my own biggest critic. I’ve always had the low numbers in me, but when you’re not at the best it’s important to get round and still make the pars. But I’m still learning. If I can just keep playing the way I have been, I’ll be happy.”
Morris is trailed by one shot by Klas Eriksson of Sweden, with England’s Seve Benson - currently second in the Challenge Tour Rankings - and Denmark’s Anders Schmidt Hansen a shot further back.