European Tour champion John Parry has identified an improved fitness regime as a key component in his bid to rebuild his career on the Challenge Tour.
The 25 year old, who qualified for The European Tour via the Challenge Tour in 2009 before securing his first victory on the top tier at the 2010 Vivendi Cup, returns to the developmental tour after a disappointing 2011 season, and he will be looking to get off to a flying start at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge in Ahmedabad, India.
The Englishman openly admits his form was not consistent enough last year, but believes that a year on the Challenge Tour might provide the fillip he needs.
“After the way I played last year, I probably don’t deserve to be on The European Tour,” said Parry, who won the 2009 ALLIANZ Open de Toulouse on the Challenge Tour on the way to a 14th place finish in the final Rankings. “So I haven’t got anyone to blame but myself for being back on the Challenge Tour.
“When I got my long game right my putting went, and vice versa. So it was a constant battle. But sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward, and it’s probably made me hungrier and more determined to work harder and improve my game. Maybe after winning on my first year on The European Tour I got a bit too comfortable.”
Feeling comfortable was not a luxury he had in abundance last year, as he battled hard to keep his card. But Parry is determined to reverse his fortunes this term, starting with a new fitness programme designed to make him last the course.
“I probably made the mistake of playing too many tournaments last season, whereas this year I’ll be playing a maximum of 25 tournaments,” said the man from Yorkshire, England.
“I wasn’t very well for about a month of last year, but instead of taking some time off to recover I played on because I was in danger of losing my card, and looking back it was probably the worst thing I could’ve done. But hopefully I’ve learned from my mistakes, and can have a better season this year.
“I’m definitely also going to concentrating more on my fitness, because when you look at all the top players, they’re all in great shape. Take Lee Westwood – over the last four or five years he’s become much leaner and fitter, and it’s no coincidence that his results have improved dramatically in that time.
“So I’ll be spending much more time in the gym, and I’ll also be working with a personal trainer this year. If you’re playing 20-35 tournaments a season, it’s tough to do the fitness work you need because you feel exhausted. But hopefully this year I’ll be a much fitter, stronger player – and a better one.”
Parry’s Challenge Tour journey begins this week at Kensville Golf and Country Club, near Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, and he is not expecting an easy challenge.
“I played the front nine this morning, and it was in pretty good nick,” he said. “It seemed quite short, so I was a bit surprised that the winning score was so low last year. But the greens are very hard and bouncy, and it’s not easy to put your approaches close to the hole.
“So if they put the pins in some tight spots, it could be very tough to make birdies. There’s also plenty of out of bounds on the left hand side, so this isn’t a good week to start developing a hook! But if you can keep it in play, you’ve got a decent chance of shooting a low score.”