Since finishing second at last year’s Final Stage to earn his European Tour card, it has not quite been the 12 months Scott Henry would have been hoping for when he celebrated in Spain.
The Scot missed 14 straight cuts after earning his playing rights and, though he recorded good results in the BMW International Open and the D+D REAL Czech Masters, he ultimately finished the season 200th in the Race to Dubai.
Ahead of this year’s six-round marathon at Lumine Golf Club, we caught up with the 30 year old about his 2017 views and his hopes for the coming week.
Scott, you’re back at Final Stage again. Is it safe to say you probably didn’t intend to end the year here?
It wasn’t the plan to be at Second Stage either! I managed to get through there and actually played a lot better than I have been just to qualify to get here. I’ve had a good look at the courses here and I feel comfortable, my game is feeling better after struggling all year, so there’s the odd little sign of the game coming back to where I want it. I’m working hard, slowly but surely getting better, and hopefully, like last year, these will be the best six or seven days of my year to then set me up for next season again.
There have been times this year where you’ve been struggling to make a cut, whereas at least here you know you play at least four rounds! Does a six-round tournament potentially suit you a bit better because there is time to recover from one bad day?
You know you’re going to make mistakes here, especially over six rounds. But even just knowing that it’s going to be six days allows you to make some mistakes and to bounce back a little easier. Game plan-wise, I’m just gearing up to playing really, really steady golf – that’s how I’m setting myself up to play and hopefully it pays off.
You were second at Final Stage last year so you must be drawing confidence from that performance, even if we are at a different venue this time…
It’s got to be the most intense pressure I’ve ever played under. Not just the final day, you just feel the pressure mounting as the days go on. I felt like I was thriving on it and I don’t know, maybe I need to put myself under more pressure when I’m playing, because I tend to play well when that’s the case. Hopefully that’ll happen again this week, and you certainly see guys in the final couple of days who are very on the edge – I find it quite fun to watch and to be part of.
This year, for whatever reasons, hasn’t quite gone as you would have planned. Was it a bit double-edged to get a European Tour card at last year’s Q-School, because you instantly started reaching for a level your game maybe wasn’t quite at, and then ended up fighting for the rest of the year?
That’s a good question. I honestly don’t know what the real answer is to that one. I definitely feel like my game belongs on the European Tour but for me this year I just felt like I was really struggling with my game. I started the season poorly and I lost confidence early and it was then very hard to get it back. I still managed a top ten and then a good week in Germany, so when my game is decent to good, I can put in some good results. It’s been frustrating to only do that two or three times and not the rest of the time.
And this week, what would be a successful week for you?
Definitely getting some sort of card again. I know that it’s a better card if you’re in the top ten, that’s really where you need to be, so that’s the goal this week.