Former Ryder Cup player Phillip Price will tee it up at the Barclays Kenya Open this week looking to get his maiden Challenge Tour campaign off to the ideal start.
Price has been one of The European Tour’s most consistent players for the past three decades, winning a trio of titles, the biggest of which came at the 2003 Smurfit European Open.
He also experienced Ryder Cup glory in 2002, famously beating Phil Mickelson in the Sunday singles at the Belfry en route to a European victory.
Last year, however, Price struggled for his best form, eventually finishing 157th in The Race to Dubai, and as a result the Welshman enters this season without a European Tour card for the first time since 1990.
Ahead of his first Challenge Tour outing, Price is therefore determined to climb back to the circuit on which he made his home for the last 23 years, and believes there is still more to come from his game, starting this week at the stunning Karen Country Club.
“It’s a bit different here this week having played on The European Tour for so long,” said Price, after arriving at the sun-kissed Nairobi venue. “I have to get used to a few different things, but I didn’t play well last year so I will just try and turn it around this season.
“Eventually I want to get back on The European Tour and if I want to do that I have to come here and play the Challenge Tour. I still want to play so I will need to work hard and do what’s necessary to achieve that.
“I think this season will definitely give me a new sense of determination, and I will have to get my head down, no matter where I play or how I travel. I'm pretty determined that I'm going to get back up there again though .”
While Price is less than three years away from his 50th birthday, he knows golf is a game where age is but a number and thinks that as long as he has the ambition, he will be able to carry on performing.
“I want to be competitive at 50,” he said. “Miguel Angel Jiménez is doing well on Tour now and I don’t want to put any age limit on my game. If I can just get out there and take it year by year and see how my body is faring, then hopefully it will all go well.
“I don’t think I’ll ever go on to be better than I was to be honest. I'm 50 in two and a half years so I just want to keep playing, get back on Tour and do it again there.”
The Karen Country Club lay-out has experienced some changes since last year’s event, won by Spain’s Jordi Garcia Pinto after a dramatic battle with Dutchman Tim Sluiter, and Price has been impressed by the challenging nature of the course.
“I have been playing pretty good recently,” he said. “My game’s coming together quite nicely so I'm looking forward to it.
“I like the course, I've had a walk around and it’s tight in places. You have to be straight, and the greens are small so you need to control your shots.
“It’s tricky though, you don’t want to miss the fairways because if you do then it will be difficult to judge your distances.”