Chris Paisley is by his own admission taking a slow route to the top of golf, but if he keeps up his recent run of fine form, he may just get there more quickly than he imagined.
The 25 year old Englishman finished in a tie for third place the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda last week, and he is no stranger to winning this season, having already posted two victories on the Alps Tour to lead the Order of Merit.
Paisley played in the 2009 Walker Cup, and the year after, having graduated from the University of Tennessee, turned professional. He missed out at the 2009 European Tour Qualifying School but returned to America for his final year of studying undeterred.
At the end of last year he came third at the Alps Tour Qualifying School, and since then he has been making waves both in Europe, winning the Peugeot Open de Catalunya and the Peugeot Tour de Valencia, and on the other side of the Atlantic on the NGA Hooters Pro Golf Tour.
Although some of his Walker Cup team-mates are already playing on The European Tour, Paisley feels he is suited to a more progressive route.
“I’ve never been one to make huge leaps, so my route to the top – if I get there – was always going to be slow and steady,” said the Northumberland player, who represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 2008 St Andrews Trophy. “That’s just the way I am. I like to keep improving and making progress, rather than being thrown in at the deep end and expected to make massive strides very quickly.
“You can't rush anything ever in golf. It's a gradual process and nothing happens overnight. I’m just trying to improve steadily and using all the experiences of playing on satellite tours and on the Challenge Tour to help me in the future. They are great stepping stones.
“Seeing the other guys from the Walker Cup team such as Sam Hutsby and Matt Haines do well and get their European Tour cards is great and good inspiration for me. I think if they can do it so can I, and hopefully I will get there eventually.”
Paisley, the youngest of three brothers, one of whom is the head professional at Hexham Golf Club, chose the Alps Tour over the UK-based Europro Tour because he believes it will ultimately give him a better chance of cutting it at the next level.
“I made the decision to play a full schedule on the Alps Tour this season,” he said. “I’ve had a few weeks off so I’ve been able to play the last two Challenge Tour events through invitations.
“My main priority is to get in the top five of the Alps Tour which would give me a full Challenge Tour card for next season. If I happen to have a good week in one of my invites then great, but my main focus is the Alps Tour.
“A lot of people I spoke to said the Alps Tour was the best satellite tour. There are more tournaments and the courses are probably better. The courses are also more similar to the courses on the Challenge Tour, so it prepares you better.
“The more tournaments there are on a tour, the more consistent player will usually do better. On the Europro Tour, if you win once or twice you’re pretty much guaranteed to get your Challenge Tour card, but I’ve had two wins on the Alps Tour and I’m still not guaranteed to get it, which I like in a way because it’s a bigger challenge and makes you more consistent.”