Paul Ferrier reckons he’d become a better golfer if he could copy Scottish No.1 and WGC winner Russell Knox by working his way up the ladder in the United States.
But, with the path to the money-spinning PGA Tour becoming more difficult, the Capital star is hoping to take his professional career to the next level in Europe instead.
Ferrier lives in the Tampa area in Florida, having decided to base himself in the States following a spell at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He’s held a PGA Tour Canada card and has aspirations to follow in the footsteps of both Knox and Martin Laird by making it on to the PGA Tour one day.
But, right now, the former Scottish Boys’ champion is focusing on trying to secure a European Tour card and, failing that, one for the Challenge Tour. He is currently preparing for the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain, having comfortably passed the first phase at The Roxburghe last month.
“Life in the pro ranks has been an incredible experience so far,” admitted Ferrier, who made the switch four years ago and also reached the same stage in 2013. “I didn’t have any expectations going in really.
“It would be safe to say I didn’t know what it would take to achieve my goals and so the first couple of years I have learned a lot about myself and what I needed to focus on to improve my game.
“It would have been nice to be further with my career by now but I have needed all the experiences I have gone through.
“I probably should’ve made it through second stage in Europe in 2013 but, looking back, I wouldn’t have been ready until now regardless.
“Hopefully I’ll look back in a few years and feel more ready for the challenges I’ll face as I have done throughout my golfing life.
“For now I’m excited to keep improving and keep my head down and focus on my keys that I know give me my best chance of being successful.”
Ferrier, who recorded his Scottish Boys’ triumph at Dunbar nine years ago, added: “I feel that I have a better chance of improving my game based in the States, but I think the European Tour is the best route to advancing my career from where I am right now.
“Unfortunately, there aren’t many resources available to guys like me in Scotland at this stage in my career, with the exemption of Baberton Golf Club and its members who always make me feel at home when I’m back.
“The route to the PGA Tour in the US is getting increasingly more difficult and expensive and it seemed like a no brainer for me to go through the European Tour instead of the web.com Tour.
“My friend has made it to final stage two years in a row here in the US and has received one start in two years.”
Both Knox and Laird have been based in the States since they completed stints at Jacksonvile University and Colorado State University respectively. They cut their professional teeth on mini Tours before becoming winners on the PGA Tour, with Knox currently sitting 19th in the world rankings.
“Guys like Russell and Martin have been a huge inspiration,” admitted Ferrier, an honorary member at Baberton. “Knox seems to be a great example of someone who has kept focused and improved every year. What a great year he has had this year and how unfortunate not to have received a pick for the Ryder Cup. It was certainly hard to justify not picking him.”
Ferrier is waiting to find out if he’ll be heading to Panoramica, Lumine Golf, Las Colinas or El Saler in Spain for his second-stage test.
“I’ll head back to Scotland the week before, mostly just to make travel easier to plan in advance,” he said. “I will have a few small tournaments I can play in the lead up to that here in Florida.”