Neil Fenwick puts 'shambles' behind him at start of big Challenge Tour chance

Neil Fenwick reckons he’s back on track at the start of an exciting run of events on the Challenge Tour after writing off his 2021 campaign as a “shambles”.

Friday, 27th May 2022, 9:33 pm

The Edinburgh man birdied his final hole to be among 10 home players to make the cut in the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge at Newmachar.

Fenwick is managed by Paul Lawrie, who has secured seven starts on the Challenge Tour for the 2020 Tartan Pro Tour Order of Merit winner.

“I’ve got a good opportunity this year and I feel comfortable,” said Fenwick. ”In fact, I feel more comfortable here than anywhere else, to be honest.

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Neil Fenwick is among the home players still standing in the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by The R&A at Newmachar. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

“I’ve got seven starts through Paul. This is the first one and I’m playing next week as well in the Czech Republic.

“I’m working with Alan McCloskey and my game is in a good place. We’ll get stuck in and I feel I can take my chance.”

Fenwick might have given up on his dream of securing a DP World Tour card if it hadn’t been for the playing opportunities provided on the Tartan Pro Tour by Lawrie in 2020.

“It’s been a tough couple of years and, without Paul’s tour, it would have been a disaster for me. I wouldn’t be playing now, to be honest,” added The Renaissance Club-based player.

“That gave me a resurgence winning the Tartan Pro Tour in 2020. Last year wasn’t great for me with Covid while we had a second baby and, playing-wise, it was a bit of a shambles, but that’s just golf.

“I’ve worked hard in the winter and Paul has been brilliant. He’s given me great support and, having the tour school back also gives some light at the end of the tunnel as far as that route is concerned.

“I’ve got seven starts to try and gain a category here but I’ve also got the chance to trend later in the season and get the game in shape for tour school. I’ve been to the final stage a couple of times and I still fully believe I can get there.

“I believe I should be playing full-time here no bother and we’ve just got to go and turn that belief into reality. I’m a bit less hard on myself than I used to be.

“Maybe that’s down to being a bit more experienced and I’m still only 33 - it’s not deadly - so we’ll keep working hard and see where it goes.”

While Craig Lee took pride of place on the opening two days in Aberdeenshire by securing a share of the lead, Fenwick was also pleased how he handled some blustery conditions.

“It was a tough draw but, at the end of the day, half the field is in the same position,” he said, having made the cut along with two other Lothians players, Keiran Cantley and Danny Kay.

“I was disappointed yesterday because I played pretty good and got it back to one-over with three to play and thinking if I could get it level-par it would be a good score. But I hit a terrible tee shot and that cost me.

“Today I played lovely and I probably should have shot four or five-under, missing a couple of really good chances.

“This morning it was wet and howling but I controlled my flight really well, having worked on that on the range and executed it well out on the course.

“I kind of scrambled coming in, which you need to do when you are battling to make the cut, then hit a great shot at ninth to about a feet and hopefully I can press on now.”

Cantley sits in the top 15 at the halfway stage while Kay is alongside Fenwick in joint-55th.

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Craig Lee shares halfway lead in Scottish Challenge at Newmachar