While the world’s eyes are on the Wentworth Club beside his Sunningdale home this week, Nick Dougherty believes his recovery from a disappointing 2011 season is on the right track as he enters the Telenet Trophy high in confidence.
The Englishman makes his fourth Challenge Tour appearance of the season in Belgium this week and after a mixed start, with a tied fourth place finish at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic followed by a tied 53rd place finish in the Barclays Kenya Open, he was happy with his performance in finishing tied 33rd at the dual-ranking Madeira Islands Open – Portugal.
This week he plays in the strongest Challenge Tour field of the season at the Telenet Trophy and the three-time European Tour winner is once again thrilled to be visiting a new country, having experienced the delights of Colombia for the first time in March.
“I’ve never been to Belgium so I’m excited about it,” said Dougherty, “I’ve been on Tour ten years and you sort of always go back to the same places and the same countries, so it’s nice to be going somewhere new and experience a new country. My brother has been and speaks very highly of it, so I’m excited.
“It was a pretty good week in Madeira overall. The third round was a bit disappointing because I was six under through 12 and only finished four under. If I had pushed on and got another couple of birdies it would have put me in contention, but dropping a couple of shots in the last few holes meant I had to shoot a silly score on Sunday to have any chance.”
Despite that disappointing finish, Dougherty is happy with how he has played so far this year and believes he is heading in the right direction as he continues to rebuild his game after a confidence-sapping season on The European Tour last year, when he made only one cut.
“My game is not fantastic, but it’s getting there and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at,” said Dougherty, who turns 30 this week. “I have a plan that I’m sticking to and I’m roughly where I need to be. There are good bits and bad bits and that shows in my scores at the moment, but if I keep plugging away and being patient those bad bits will gradually be fewer.“It was great to have a good week in Madeira and it gives me a lot of confidence heading to Belgium.”