Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Oliver Fisher  (Getty Images)
Oliver Fisher (Getty Images)
Five successive top ten finishes have brought Oliver Fisher back on track, but to stay a European Tour regular this season the 21 year old needs to keep the run going at the Open de España this week.

After a disappointing 2009 in which he missed 21 halfway cuts, lost his European Tour card and then failed to survive The Qualifying School, the Essex youngster has at last begun to head in the right direction again.

Coach Pete Cowen, the man who helped Lee Westwood climb from outside the top 250 of the Official World Golf Rankings to his current fourth spot, believes Fisher has the talent to go a lot higher than his current 189th.

But the big problem this year is how many chances he will get on The European Tour.

"Because he didn't make it through the school Ollie stays down the rankings this season and so isn't guaranteed a start every week," said Cowen.

It was only when he tied for fourth in Korea on Sunday that Fisher knew he had a spot in Seville under the rule that sees the top ten finishers qualify for the following week's tournament.

But he is not yet in the field for next week's BMW Italian Open and so it goes on.

Eighth in India, third in Kenya, second in Madeira and seventh in China in his four previous events show two things - Fisher has been clocking up the air miles, but he has also made it very worthwhile.

With €270,724 banked he has given himself every chance of a full return to The European Tour International Schedule next year.

"At the start of the year I would have taken that," said the player who in 2005 aged just 16 became the youngest Walker Cup cap.

"Hopefully I can set some different goals now. I know the standard that I can play.

"It was a frustrating year for me last year, but it was just a matter of keep grinding it out and not giving up."

Cowen was approached at The Open Championship last year to have a look and admits he was shocked at how bad Fisher's technique had become.

"He's a tremendous player, but unfortunately he was going down the wrong road and the harder he worked the worse he was getting.

"There's nothing more soul-destroying than that, but I think it was a case of misinterpreting information rather than getting wrong information and he had to understand what he was trying to achieve." 

Most of that process was actually done with Mike Walker, one of Cowen's assistants, and a rise of 170 places on the World Rankings in six months tells its own story.

Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, who has not had a top ten finish since he was runner-up in the Open de France in June 2008 and has fallen to 322nd in the World Rankings, also plays this week.

So do Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Miguel Angel Jiménez, big-hitting Alvaro Quiros, Omega Mission Hills World Cup-winning brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, defending champion Thomas Levet and Dane Søren Kjeldsen, who won the Open de Andalucia on the course in March last year.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-11
2MORRISON, JamesENG18-11
T3CAÑIZARES, AlejandroESP18-10
T3JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-10
T3FOSTER, MarkENG18-10
T6WARING, PaulENG18-9
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