Jordi Garcia Pinto (Getty Images)
Spaniard Jordi Garcia Pinto will be hoping he can finish the 2013 European Challenge Tour season as strongly as he started it, having won in the second event of the year, as he prepares for the final three events of the campaign.
The 23 year old, who has not missed a cut in his last 12 appearances, currently lies 12th in the Challenge Tour Rankings and is on course to claim one of the 15 European Tour cards on offer at the end of the season.
Everything is still to play for in the Challenge Tour’s final stretch, a three-week journey east beginning with The Foshan Open before the inaugural National Bank of Oman Golf Classic, followed by the end-of-season showcase, the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club.
Garcia Pinto knows he is not over the line yet, but he is hoping for at least one more big performance to add to his Barclays Kenya Open victory in February and tied third place finish at the lucrative Rolex Trophy in August.
“I'm excited for these three events,” said the Girona native. “I have not been to China, Oman or Dubai so I really can’t wait to see what those countries are about and, of course, play well.
“I really loved Kenya and when I went there I thought something could happen for me, so hopefully it will be the same in these events.
“I will be practising hard in the lead up to the final three to improve some parts of my game. I will relax a little but it will be mostly about practising. I want to have enough energy for the last three tournaments because they will be very tough. Being so far away from home without a break, you have to be physically strong for that.
“I'm quite happy with how my season has gone so far. I obviously started with a good win in Kenya and after that I had two months which were quite difficult, but then I started to play well again and make a lot of cuts.
“I didn’t get many good results, but I was finishing between 20th and 30th place. Then I got a top five finish in the Rolex Trophy which was great in terms of climbing the Rankings. Now I am in 12th position so I’m expecting some good results from here until the end of the season.”
Garcia Pinto made an interesting decision at the end of last season when, having his secured his card for a rookie season on the Challenge Tour, he decided not to play in the Qualifying School Final Stage in his home town, where he had the chance to earn a full European Tour card.
Instead, he opted to gain experience on the Challenge Tour, which has helped the careers of stars such as Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson.
“Of course I have learned a lot this season,” he said. “Every season you learn and this season I'm learning to fight until the very end. I have made a lot of cuts by making birdies in the last few holes, so that has been very important.
“It was difficult for me earlier in the year because after Kenya we had a month and a half without a tournament. So I had just experienced the best moment of my career and then I just had to stop.
“Then I started to look at the Rankings and think about that too much, but luckily I have managed to sort myself out in the Rankings with two big performances in Kenya and Switzerland.
“When I began to make all those cuts, mentally I was just more relaxed because if you win one tournament and then miss two cuts in the next three, it’s tough mentally. But once I started to make the cuts again and play well, it resolved everything in my head.”