One title Carl will always treasure is that of Russian Open champion. He played in the inaugural event last year at the Moscow Country Club on a course which was highly praised all round. He also has happy memories of the Rolex Trophy Pro-Am a few weeks earlier, even though he lost the title to Dennis Edlund in a play-off. "I shot a course record 63 in the last round and the sponsors presented me with a Rolex watch, which was lovely," said Carl, who turned professional in 1993 after a distinguished amateur career for England. The former British Boys' champion won the pre-qualifying for the 1993 European Tour Qualifying School Finals but did not progress further, and nor did he in 1994. "I didn't even try to pre-qualify in 1995 because I knew I wasn't ready," said Carl. "I knew I would be better playing for another year on the European Challenge Tour and it proved to be the right decision. I learned how to win and it prepared me for life on the European Tour."