Julian Suri may now be a European Tour winner and no longer on the Road to Oman but the last man to take him down on a tournament Sunday is drawing confidence from those memories as the European Challenge Tour prepares for the Cordon Golf Open this week.
Oscar Stark claimed a maiden Challenge Tour title at the Made in Denmark Challenge – presented by Ejner Hessel in June, overturning a three-shot deficit to overnight leader Suri for a well-deserved win as the American’s victory march faltered on the final day.
Suri, fittingly, won on his return to Denmark last week to vanquish those demons, becoming the first player in history to win on both the Challenge Tour and European Tour in the same season, but Stark is keen to draw inspiration from his memorable victory on his return to Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val Andre.
“I have to congratulate Julian, it’s fantastic what he has achieved,” said the 28 year old. “It’s good news for us too, one more spot becomes available for us to graduate, but it’s unbelievable what he’s done.
“It’s an interesting one, having played with him and against him in Denmark. It’s very nice to have been head-to-head and to come out on top, that’s a bonus, but it shows how we are all equal really and it’s the small things on any week, the mental stuff, that can make a big difference.
“I guess I have it, I have what it takes, somewhere inside there. It shows the level of the Challenge Tour is very close to the top of the European Tour and how quickly it can move.
“There’s no real difference in golf anyway. This is a game you play against yourself and no one else. It’s a very specific and interesting game in that sense, but there’s no limit on what you can then achieve or what level you can get to.”
The 2017 season is entering its final third and, as such, greater attention is placed on the top 15 of the Road to Oman Rankings, who will join Suri as European Tour members come the year’s end.
Stark is currently 30th and well within striking distance but is aware that he has some work to do.
A return to Pleneuf could be the perfect inspiration for the Swede, who finished as a runner-up in last year’s tournament.
“I have very good memories from last year,” he said. “I remember I didn’t have a very good first round and I was keen to have a good time and have a really good second round.
“I think I was two or three over and a long way down the leaderboard and then I think I shot a 64 on the second day, after telling myself I was going to shoot really low, so that was great.
“I was solid in the third round, a couple under, and then I had a lot of fun on the Sunday, making a long putt on the first for birdie, and I finished it off with a pretty special long putt right across the front of the 18th.
“It was a very important result. It was the springboard from last season for me. I played pretty well after that, but it all started from this week – it got me into some of the big events, the final four tournaments in China and the Middle East.
“To get this result here then helped my confidence – I played well in China too so it was very important and now it is different this year because I was fortunate enough to have a good pre-season and then get that first win.
“I have a bit more work to do. It’s very tight in the Rankings and Kazakhstan and the last four are some big weeks – those are the ones that I’m going to prepare for as best I can.
“In the past maybe I didn’t have quite that good a plan so hopefully this year I can get it right and perform even better, and just hope my best might be good enough.”