BABERTON’S Paul Ferrier is ready to put his American dream on hold in a bid to become a Euro star.
The former Scottish Boys’ champion has spent the past five years in the US and aims to emulate Martin Laird by working his way up to the PGA Tour.
But, after falling at the first hurdle in the qualifying race for next season’s Web.com Tour, his focus for the time being has switched to this side of the Atlantic.
The former University of North Carolina-Charlotte student was one of only two Scots to come through last week’s European Tour Q-School first stage event at The Roxburghe near Kelso. And he’s now working on a plan to try and keep himself competitive ahead of the second stage and, hopefully, the six-round final, both in Spain in November. “I’ve got a flight back to the US booked on October 4, but that was done with the Web.com Tour Qualifying School in mind and that’s no longer relevant,” said Ferrier.
“I’d like to get over to Spain to acclimatise as I’ve not played any golf over there. I’d also like to play the odd tournament as I don’t want to go into the second stage feeling rusty.
“My girlfriend lives in Tampa and that’s the hard part. America is also a great place to play and practice, but my goal now is to play on the European Tour next year.”
Ten rounds still stand between him and a coveted card but, while the likes of Steven O’Hara and James Byrne both crashed out at the first stage, Ferrier qualified comfortably in joint-seventh with a two-under total of 286 at the tough Borders course.
“I had played in the pre-qualifying for the Web.com Tour the week before and hadn’t done as well in that as I’d been hoping,” added the semi-finalist in last year’s Amateur Championship at Troon. “But I’d been working on things with my coach, Scott Lefevre, and it maybe came a week too soon as I was ready and raring to go when I arrived at The Roxburghe.”
With his dad, Iain, caddying for him, the 24-year-old opened with a three-under 69 before adding scores of 71, 74 and 72 to be amongst the 20 qualifiersalong with West Linton’s Gareth Wright.
“I’d played there in the Scottish Youths in 2008. In fact, it was there that I was recruited by my college coach,” he said. “It wasn’t a case of having to try and adjust to a links. It’s not too dissimilar to a lot of the courses out in the states so maybe that helped me. I played it pretty straight, doing the right things at the right times. A good opening round set me up and it was in my own hands from then on, which was nice.”
Ferrier, whose Scottish Boys’ title triumph came at Dunbar in 2007, worked with Lefevre when he was at college and was encouraged to link up with him again by an old team-mate.
“Scott was one of the assistant coaches but I’d lost contact with him,” he said. “Cory Nagey was virtually my mentor at college and when I went up to Omaha to caddie for him on the Web.com Tour he suggested I see Scott. It’s still work in progress but it is starting to come. I’ve always used my hands and arms in my swing but I’m using my body more now.
“I’ve been playing on the egolf Tour, which is a mini-Tour in North Carolina and the surrounding states. It offers superb competition and I’ve learned so much playing on it.
“It’s taught me what I need to do to improve and I feel my game now compared to where it was this time last year is like night and day.
“It’s been a great experience and has probably been a good wake-up call because everything has to be spot on, including your preparation, just to have a chance.”
Laird, a three-times PGA Tour winner and Scotland’s top-ranked player, also now lives in Charlotte and helped Ferrier secure his American visa.
“I met him when he did a clinic for the SGU along with Andrew Coltart last year,” he revealed. “I needed someone on the PGA Tour or affiliated to it to vouch for me and he kindly did that for me.”
n A NEW date and venue will be announced soon for the Edinburgh Summer League Final after yesterday’s clash between holders Royal Burgess and Duddingston was washed out at Dalmahoy.