Wilson on a Challenge Tour mission

13/07/2012 08:58:38
Oliver Wilson  (Getty Images)
Oliver Wilson (Getty Images)
Former Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson believes he is capable of winning on his return to the Challenge Tour after seven years of near misses on The European Tour as he made the Credit Suisse Challenge his first of a run of events on the developmental tour.

The Englishman, who beat Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim in The 2008 Ryder Cup Saturday foursomes alongside Henrik Stenson despite going four holes down at Valhalla, qualified for The European Tour through the Challenge Tour in 2004 after finishing 15th in the Rankings.

Since then he has reached the heady heights of The Ryder Cup, thanks to impressive consistency on the highest tier of European golf.

While the 31 year old hasn’t managed a win yet, he has finished runner up nine times on The European Tour including a play-off defeat to Sergio Garcia at the HSBC Champions in 2008 and finished seventh in The Race to Dubai in 2009.

On his return to the Challenge Tour, Wilson is taking nothing for granted but he believes he is on the kind of form that could yield his first win on the European professional circuit.

“It’s one of those things,” said Wilson. “You have to do what you have to do and every week you play, no matter what tour, all you can do is try and win. If you win, it’s going to be beneficial no matter where you play and I'm not treating this any different to a European Tour event.

“I've been playing nicely. I know that I've got enough experience and I'm playing well enough so if I come here and play solid and have a good attitude I can do well.

“Obviously I had Madeira, which counts on the Challenge Tour, so I have two options this year in terms of keeping a European Tour card for next year. I have an opportunity now to play a few Challenge Tour events, which I’ll do, and then I’ll re-evaluate after that.”

Wilson will play in next week’s Double Tree by Hilton Acaya Open in Italy before returning to The European Tour for the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity and that will be followed by a Challenge Tour Scandinavian double header at the Finnish Challenge and Norwegian Challenge.

The Weybridge man is confident that he can bring his best form to the Challenge Tour and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Sam Little, who won three times last year to gain automatic exemption for The European Tour.

 “You’ve got to approach it with a good attitude and I'm very much looking at it that it could be a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I know I'm playing well and if I can come here and play well in the next few weeks there’s no reason why I can’t win every week.

“People have done it in the past. Sam won three times last year so it can be done. I'm hoping I can play well and whether I win or not, I can just get some momentum going and some confidence.

“I know I'm playing well enough to even win on The European Tour right now, I showed that in Germany (at the BMW International Open, where he finished tied 18th). Every opportunity is a good one at the moment so I’ll just take it as it comes. I’ll keep playing well and working on the game and hopefully as each week goes by, my game is improving and confidence is improving.”