A close friend of former football star and fellow Southampton resident Matthew Le Tissier, who has caddied for him on several occasions, Bland had two steady seasons in 2014 and 2015. Was in the mix at the Turkish Airlines Open in the latter, shooting 65 in the second round before falling back over the weekend. Found out at the halfway point of that low round he had sold his house, then came home with seven birdies in nine holes, saying afterwards that “he realised he needed to win some money to pay for the new house”. Kept his card in 2012 by the skin of his teeth, taking 119th place – the last exempt spot – in the Race to Dubai, and had another nervy finish in 2013, finishing 108th. Took the fourth card at the 2011 Qualifying School after finishing 162nd in the Race to Dubai that season. Ran Nick Dougherty close for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award in 2002. Has earned his European Tour playing privileges three times via the Challenge Tour Rankings – in 2001, 2004 and 2008 – and is coached by Sky Sports commentator Tim Barter.