Daniel Gaunt is hoping to bring his winning form to the Challenge Tour and next week’s Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic at Barranquilla Country Club, where he will be full of confidence after securing a win on a UK mini-tour on Monday.
The Australian played in the Gujarat Kensville Challenge, where he was in contention after a four under par 68 on the second day but faltered at the weekend, and he is dedicating his schedule to the Challenge Tour this season.
Over the quiet period, Gaunt has been practicing tirelessly in England and believes his game is coming together nicely ahead of the trip to Colombia, with his win on Monday helping to boost his confidence.
“I can’t wait to get out to Colombia now, I must say,” said the 33 year old. “It’ll be nice to get out to some good weather and I’ve heard good things about the place, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve been back in England since India and practicing hard on my game. I had a solid round at the tournament this week, so that’s just proof that maybe the work is paying off. It was my first bogey-free round in a long time, so it’s nice to get a little bit of confidence going.
“There was a bit of a wind blowing as well and I’ve heard that it’s windy out in Colombia too, so if I can keep that form up hopefully I can do well.”
Gaunt is yet to play a full season on the Challenge Tour, but in 2010 he showed his undoubted ability by winning the English Challenge midway through the year, beating the then-amateur Tommy Fleetwood after qualifying for the tournament through his position at the top of the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit, before going on to qualify for The European Tour thanks to a seventh place finish in the Challenge Tour Rankings that season.
The Melbourne native will dedicate his immediate future to the Challenge Tour, and believes he is well capable of taking the Tour by storm again this season.
“For the time being I’ll be playing on the Challenge Tour, and my main goal is to try and get three wins on the board to qualify for The European Tour,” he said. “Obviously that’s not going to be an easy task, but if I can’t do that hopefully I can move up the rankings and secure my card that way.
“I basically secured my card within 11 events the last time out, so I’d be confident that I can do something similar this year.”
Gaunt joins a stellar cast at Barranquilla Country Club, with three-time European Tour winner Nick Dougherty making his full Challenge Tour debut alongside compatriot Ross McGowan, who won twice on the Challenge Tour in 2007 on the way to a second place finish in the Rankings, before going on to win the Madrid Masters on The European Tour in 2009.Jeppe Huldahl, Cesar Monasterio, Raymond Russell and Daniel Vancsik are the other European Tour winners present, while 72 players from the Pacific Colombia Tour will also battle it out for the US$250,000 on offer at the picturesque course along Colombia’s Caribbean coastline.
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