Amateur Stow praises English Challenge effect

29/07/2012 09:45:19
Ben Stow  (Getty Images)
Ben Stow (Getty Images)
The leading amateur at the English Challenge this week, Ben Stow, has sung the praises of the tournament as it continues to provide a crucial stepping stone for the most promising young stars of English Golf.

The 20 year old was right in the mix at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa going into the final day after a five under par third round of 67 moved him to tied 16th spot, nine shots off the lead set by another product of England Golf’s link up with the European Challenge Tour, Chris Paisley.

Paisley made his debut on the European professional circuit at the English Challenger after a successful amateur career which yielded a call up to the 2009 Walker Cup.

His is one of a number of success stories to emerge from the English Challenge, that of Tommy Fleetwood being another after he was the Challenge Tour’s number one player in 2011 having broken on to the scene with a runner up finish at Stoke by Nayland in 2010.

Stow is hoping he can be another one of those names to make the breakthrough via the English Challenge and he has certainly shown some positive signs this week.

“It’s been great,” said Stow, from Salisbury in the South of England. “Before the third round I just said to my caddy, ‘let’s just go out and have some fun and fire at some pins and see what happens’. I holed a few putts and got up and down when I needed to so I really enjoyed it out there.

“Having the English Challenge is really important because it’s like a stepping stone. You get to deep your feet in the water and see where you are. I've played this week with some really good players and I think I’m not far away from these guys.

“So I'm looking at the top of the leaderboard and thinking about what I have to do to be better than these guys. It’s amazing for us because we get to have a look and taste it and assess what we need to do to get here so it’s a really good experience and England Golf have done a great job in giving us this opportunity.

“This is my first proper professional event. I play a lot of links golf as an amateur so obviously it’s great to play a parkland course where it’s a bit more like target golf and suits my game.

“I've really enjoyed it this week. I've had a really solid season in the amateur game. I haven’t finished outside the top 18 in a strokeplay event and I had my first win of the season two weeks ago in Iceland which was really good.

“The difference between the two is that the top players in the field at amateur events can compete at this level but you can probably pick the winner, whereas the standard of golf is so good here that anyone can win if they play well.

“The strength in depth is far superior but the best players at amateur level are good enough to do well here.”