Ross McGowan believes he is on the road back to the highest echelons of the game as the former European Tour winner’s recovery from long-term injury continued with an opening round of 66 at the D+D Real Slovakia Challenge.
The Englishman was just one shot off the lead heading into the second day at the pristine Penati Golf Resort after a five under back nine which yielded five birdies in the space of six holes.
Having already claimed a top five finish at the D+D Real Czech Challenge last month, McGowan feels he is starting to feel comfortable with his game again after a long lay-off due to two separate injuries, which have limited him to just 27 starts on The European Tour and Challenge Tour in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
“I had a long wrist injury where I was out for close to nine months before I could start hitting balls again,” said the 32 year old, who lives in Dubai. “Then last year I tore a muscle in my obliques so that put me out for four or five months too so it’s nice to be back playing golf and feeling fully fit again.
“It’s not much fun at all. You start doubting yourself and then when you come back out here it’s hard to prove yourself again but you just have to start from the beginning and work your way up again.
“I think technically 90% of my game is as good as it was back in 2009 when I finished 12th in The Race to Dubai so I think the key now is to keep working hard and get back and surpass those achievements.
“The way the courses are set up here, it’s slightly easier than The European Tour events so I guess the fields are a lot more open. If you can keep it in play you’ve always got a chance, whereas on The European Tour the best ball-strikers tent to come to the fore.
"I've been playing steadily and shooting under par for around 80 per cent of the time but I've thrown in a few bad rounds on Sunday so time to get rid of that and start shooting low every day."