An emotional Scott Gregory capped off a tough year by earning full European Tour status after finishing as one of 27 graduates from European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage at Lumine Golf Club.
The young Englishman posted a 19 under par total after six rounds to finish tied ninth and secure playing privileges on the top tier for the 2019 season.
Gregory carded a 92 in the opening round of this year’s U.S. Open and was subsequently subjected to online abuse before suffering a near season-ending injury.
But the 24 year old has come out the other side better for the experience and now has a full season on the European Tour to look forward to.
“It’s been a tough year with injury and I didn’t have my best day at the U.S. Open,” he said. “I probably came under some unfair criticism so to do this not only proves it to myself but it proves it to them. It keeps a lot of people quiet.
“It proved to me that I could do it but I didn’t need proving. I got a lot of stick and stuff on Twitter so it proves to all them that I can do it, so I’m happy with that. They haven’t got an argument with me. I might put a tweet out tonight, but I’ll have to word it carefully!
For the people who said I should learn my trade at the Tower Bridge.. I'll learn it on the European Tour if that's okay? @CorhamptonGolf @cobragolfuk @pumagolfuk @Eurocams1 @markdiment @simonandrews8 @SMMindOdyssey @Fortius_Perf @GrahamWalker18 https://t.co/ZfJlAIhbO0— Scott Gregory ⛳ (@ScottGregory5) 15 November 2018
“I’ll ring my dad – I feel like I’m going to cry now – but yeah, I’ll ring my dad and then my girlfriend.”
Gregory has completed all 252 holes of Qualifying School after progressing through First Stage, Second Stage and the marathon six-round Final Stage and he believes the key was to, at times, keep his mind off golf.
“Today was probably the most pressure I’ve felt under, ever,” he said. “You just feel like with every mistake you’ve got no idea where you’re going to be.
“I made a double bogey up the second which was a bit frustrating but I just plugged away at it and I didn’t really know where I was until I stood on 17,” he said.
“I thought if I could birdie 17 or 18 it would be pretty good and I hit a good one into eight feet and holed it and got to play 18 as a three-shot hole, which made my life a bit easier.
“I just trusted that everything that I’ve learned and everything I’ve done to this point will get me through. I just tried to stick with it and keep to the game plan.
“I tried to chat about things other than golf because it’s easy to be stood on 12, 13, 14 thinking ‘I could be playing on the Tour next week’ so it’s important to stay in the present and hit good shots.
“I was mentally drained coming into this so just chilled out and took my time. I didn’t do much practice between rounds and it seems to have paid off.”
After not playing as much as he would’ve liked on the Challenge Tour this season due to injury, Gregory is hoping to enjoy his maiden year on the European Tour and draw from his experience of playing in the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the Masters Tournament in recent years.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I was excited to play Challenge Tour this year but then I got injured and things like that so to go out fully fit on the European Tour next year, I know it’s going to be tough and you’re playing against the best players in the world, I’m just going to go out there, enjoy it, and do my best.
“I feel like I’ve learned enough in the Majors and Tour events that I’ve played in after winning the amateur events to hopefully take all that and have a good year.
“I’ve spent all day on the range hitting balls and in the gym and it certainly pays off. It’s worth it. I’m immensely proud of myself.”