Golfing career began at the age of 11 when caddieing for his father, David, at Manchester Golf Club. Began playing and was off a handicap of two at 15. At same age played for Lancashire Boys but made progress after his 17th birthday. Won English Schools Championship at Bolton Old Links, capped for England against Scotland Schoolboys and in the European Schools Championships in Sweden. Also made the Lancashire senior team. When 18 stopped playing for a year but returned to play county golf again. Then at 22 chose to turn professional as he felt he needed a 'new challenge'. Secured a card at the fourth time of asking at the 1999 Qualifying School, but lost it the following year. Finished 13th on the Challenge Tour in 2001 after winning the DEXIA-BIL Luxembourg Open, his maiden tour title.