Darius van Driel is not resting on his laurels and knows he needs to improve to compete at the top level, despite graduating to the European Tour following an impressive European Challenge Tour season.
The Dutchman finished 13th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings after a consistent 2019 season, which included his second career victory at the Rolex Trophy and six further top ten finishes.
Despite triumphing at Golf Club de Genève, one of the most prestigious events on the Road to Mallorca International Schedule, his season went all the way down to the wire, with a strong performance required at the Challenge Tour Grand Tour to secure his place inside the all-important top 15.
He produced exactly that, defying testing conditions and a long-weather delay in Mallorca to cap off his year with a top ten finish and with it booked his ticket to the European Tour for the 2020 season.
“It feels amazing to have my European Tour card,” van Driel said. “I teed off the first hole and then we were called in because of the weather, which would have meant that I was in and that my card was safe. Then they decided to play again, so I had to go back out and really fight for it, especially with the conditions.
“I’ve got to say the win has to be the thing I’m most proud of this year, but the season is so long that you’ve got to play well all season, which is a real test of golf and I hope that I can pull that off next year as well.
“I’m looking forward to competing on the highest level, but I’ve got to pump my game up if I’m going to compete, so I’m excited for that challenge.”
Van Driel is making his first start as a full European Tour member at the Alfred Dunhill Championship this week and the 30-year-old will draw on his experience from Belgian Knockout this summer, where he reached the final of the Match Play competition.
“The Belgian Knockout was a good experience for me to see where my game matches up to the guys competing regularly on the European Tour,” he said.
“To get the second place in Belgium was a really good boost for me just to confirm that I can play with these guys.”
There will be 14 players from the Class of 2019 competing at Leopard Creek this week, with Sebastian Heisele the only graduate opting not to take up his spot in the field.