Having missed out on retaining his European Tour card by a mere €1,426, Gary Boyd could be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself but the Englishman is instead intent on accentuating the positives as he enters the last chance saloon at this week’s Qualifying School Final Stage.
Boyd’s tied 37th finish at last week’s UBS Hong Kong Open was not quite enough to prolong his stay on the top tier, as he finished 122nd in The Race to Dubai due mainly to 12 missed cuts and just one top ten finish – at the BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi – all season.
By his own admission, Boyd – who counts Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter amongst his friends on Tour – has struggled to maintain the consistent form he produced over the previous two seasons, when he finished 50th (2010) and 78th (2011) in The Race to Dubai having secured his card via the Challenge Tour in 2009.
At that point, the 26 year old had seemed set for a long and prosperous career amongst the golfing elite, but instead of competing for the US$8million prize fund on offer to Poulter and Co. in Dubai this week, he instead finds himself in a fight for survival in northern Spain.
It is Boyd’s second visit to PGA Catalunya Resort and, as much as he enjoys playing the club’s two pristine courses, he is also hoping it will be his last.
He said: “It’s obviously not an ideal situation I find myself in but these things were sent to try us, and it’s a test of character as much as anything. As soon as I finished in Hong Kong, I knew that I probably hadn’t done quite enough to keep my card. But you just have to try to get over that disappointment as quickly as you can, refocus and prepare for this week. It’s been a pretty quick turnaround, but I’m just about over the jetlag now and had a good practice session yesterday, so I’m feeling good about my game.
“This week it’s more important than ever to stay patient, because it is a long week so even if you make a double on the first hole, all being well you’ve still got another 107 holes left to play. You’ve got to try to stay positive and conserve some energy for the last two rounds, because that’s where the tournament really starts in many ways. Hopefully I’ll be well placed after four rounds and can put my foot on the gas for the last two days.”
If Boyd is to last the distance and end the marathon amongst the top 25 competitors, he will have to do it the hard way, with 33 European Tour champions and a smattering of former Ryder Cup players gathered in Girona.
But Boyd has never lacked self-belief, and he is hoping his positive outlook will see him through what is often a gruelling and nerve-wracking examination of both talent and temperament.
He said: “Everything happens for a reason, and this might just be the kick up the backside I needed. I wouldn’t say I got overconfident or complacent, but maybe you do start taking some things for granted so coming here should be a bit of a wake-up call.
“Now that I am here, I have to deal with it as best I can and hopefully I’ll end the week with a Tour card in my hand a and smile on my face. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two forward, so I’m hoping that’s the case with me this week.”