Chris Lloyd will never grow as tall as Chris Wood – there is a difference of some seven inches in their respective heights – but he is trying to emulate Wood in other ways as he strives to join his fellow his fellow Bristolian on The European Tour.
Born and raised – albeit five years apart – in England’s sixth most populous city, Lloyd and Wood were both snapped up by the International Sports Management agency after highly promising amateur careers.
Shortly after turning professional in 2008, Wood earned his European Tour card at the Qualifying School Final Stage and has not looked back since, winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award in 2009 and capturing his first pro title at the start of the month at the Thailand Open.
Lloyd had looked all set to follow in Wood’s fabled footsteps when, as an amateur at the Qualifying School Final Stage in 2010, he entered the final round comfortably inside the top 30 and therefore on course to claim a card, only to miss out after a harrowing experience on the final day.
More disappointment followed last season, when Lloyd started his debut Challenge Tour campaign strongly before fading away towards the end of the season; but he returned a fitter, stronger and altogether more determined player this year.
That much was in evidence on the third round of the Rolex Trophy, when the 20 year old posted comfortably the lowest round of his embryonic professional career – a course record-equalling 62.
Lloyd, currently 21st in the Challenge Tour Rankings, felt the round “had been coming for a long time”, and was quick to praise his caddie Barry Keates, new on the bag this season; his coach, Paul Mitchell, who also works with Wood; and the fitness coach he shares with Wood, Andy Wadsworth, with whom he has spent countless in the gym.
Lloyd said: “I’ve got a great team around me now, and we’re all quite a close-knit group. I played with Woody last week, and he just told me to keep my head down and stay patient, because he knew I was playing well without scoring well, mainly due to my putting.
“I’ve been working with Woody’s coach, Paul, since the start of the year, and he’s given me a different perspective on a few things. The fitness work I’ve been doing with Andy is also really starting to pay off, because I’m feeling much stronger now and I’m not feeling tired at the end of my rounds.
“So it’s all starting to come together nicely, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season. There aren’t too many tournaments left now, and having just missed out on the top 20 last year, I don’t want to miss out again. If I can take this form with me to Russia and Kazakhstan, I’ll be a very happy man.”
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