As he soaks up the island vibes at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita with his 2019 European Tour card in hand, the roller coaster ride of last season seem a world away for young Englishman Scott Gregory.
In this player blog he tells us about attracting the wrong kind of attention after a round of 92 at the U.S Open, the pressure of Qualifying School, and getting support from the English golfing family, including his childhood hero Justin Rose.
I set myself a goal a couple of years ago of playing at least one Major each year, but it was weird getting to the U.S. Open as I didn’t expect to qualify at all.
I had a wrist injury and I was in agony just playing a practice round the day before qualifying. I thought I would give it a crack and see what happened, so I qualified for the U.S. Open on pretty much no form or practice.
I turned up to Shinnecock and it wasn't good in practice. I probably knew I wasn't going to play great. Even thought I was hurting and not feeling great, I was never going to pull out. I tried to forget about the injury and find a way to get it round. I really only played the back nine well in both rounds, that was pretty much what got me through.
Some of the comments on social media were harsh but I just blanked it all out and tried to go about my business.
The second round was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had. It just felt like I was on my own walking around a golf course. There were loads of people watching me, but probably because they wanted me to play terribly.
It was a tough week, but I still qualified for the U.S Open on merit and I'm proud of that. I would like to get back there and do a better job of it next time.
My advice to anyone else in that situation would be just not to listen to any of it. The hardest thing to do is not reply, so yes I was biting my tongue a bit. They might have made the comment but they didn't get the outcome that they wanted because I didn't give them anything back - obviously getting my card at the end of the season was the best response.
It was tough, but I knew that I got there through merit and I knew I could play, just other things were happening off the golf course that I couldn't control too much.
Rosey and Beef spoke to me in the locker room and that definitely helped.
All of the support was great. I know a lot of guys on Tour tweeted me even though I didn’t see a lot of it at the time as I just switched off really.
But to have those players come up and chat to me was quite cool actually and showed that they care. I used to go to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth as a kid just to watch Justin play, so it’s pretty cool to chat to him and I’ve played a couple of practice rounds with him too.
Guys coming through in England have such good role models at the moment.
Justin is pretty much the best player in the world right now. He's local to me as he's from Hampshire so to have someone like that to look up to is massive and I think that's why we're seeing a lot of good results from English players. It's a bit like when Nick Faldo won The Open, suddenly everyone believes they can do it too. It's a good time to be an English golfer.
Qualifying School is a horrible experience, really.
It's high pressure because you can have one bad hole and not get your card. Pressure to win tournaments is nice, but that wasn't.
It’s quite interesting as well because at the start of the week everyone is chatting, but by the time you get to the last two days no one says a word. It's eerily quiet on the practice ground.
I deliberately played the first stage as early as possible so that I would have more time between the first and second stage. I played second and final stage last year so I knew it would be tiring. I wanted to give myself a good gap and that seemed to work well. Even still, going into final stage I was absolutely knackered. You're just grinding.
It was only when I got to the 17th tee on the final round that I felt happy with myself. I had a three shot cushion with two holes to go. I hit the green on the par three and 18 is a par five so I would have had to do something bad not to get my card.
Mauritius is a pretty nice place to start the 2019 season.
I've never been before but it’s a lovely island, just driving along the coast to get to the course was pretty sweet.
Jack Singh Brar is here and I'm sharing a room with Matthew Jordan this week. All three of us played Walker Cup together. That's why the amateur game is so good because you come out here and see guys that you played with and against as amateurs so it almost feels like a little family.
Success in the amateur game shows that you can do it in a way, but as soon as you turn pro it all goes out of the window. It might carry you for a little bit but the chances are people don't know that I've won the British Amateur and I wouldn't expect them to because there are guys out here this week who are winning on Tour.
My main goal is to keep my card.
But I want to try to qualify for a few events like the BMW. As I said I've gone there every year since I was a kid, so it would be a pretty good year if I made it there. With it now being in September, if you're in the field you're probably looking good for keeping your card.
I would like to qualify for a Major as well - I'm not fussy which one. If I got back to the U.S Open I would just put the last experience to the back of my mind. And it's at Pebble Beach so that would be a nice place to play. Maybe being here on the coast this week could be good practice.
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