Kieran Cantley turns pro after winning ProGolf Tour card
Liberton Golf Club star says 'now is the time'
Kieran Cantley is excited to have teed up a new career in the professional ranks after finishing top of the class in his qualifying school test.
The 21-year-old, who entered the event as an amateur, came through the ProGolf Tour Q School in Germany with flying colours as he upstaged the pros.
Cantley, a product of Liberton Golf Club, claimed top spot in the two-round card battle after posting scores of 68-70 for a six-under-par total at Golf Club Paderborner Land in Salzkotten.
Liam Johnston won the same event two years ago and went on to become a two-time winner on the Challenge Tour and qualified for the European Tour this season.
“It is a good feeling to win at any level,” admitted Cantley of his success. “I already knew I could compete with these guys but to do it in an event like that when you are trying to secure a card is very satisfying indeed.
“I kept my options open by entering as an amateur as I didn’t want to put all my eggs one basket and find myself stuck in limbo. I wanted to have a back-up plan, but thankfully I don’t need that now.”
The German-run ProGolf Tour involves events in Egypt and Morocco, as well as in a handful of countries in Continental Europe.
Peebles man Craig Howie topped the Order of Merit in 2018 to earn a step up to the Challenge Tour and now Cantley is aiming to do likewise.
“I will turn pro on January 1,” he added. “I will start playing all the events on the ProGolf Tour after that. The standard is getting better and better every year on all the tours.
“It was a case of looking at what tour suits me best and I think it is that one. It preps you for tour life as well. It is a good springboard for me.”
In the meantime, he will be working hard to keep his game in tip-top condition over the winter and continue to work part-time for Loanhead-based golfclubs4cash.
“I was 14 or 15 when I knew that I wanted to become a pro and it’s great that is happening,” admitted Cantley, who finished four shots ahead of fellow Scot Euan Walker in the Qualifying School final.
“I’ve got a couple of guys who are helping me out in terms of sponsorship, but anything that comes my way would be welcomed with open arms. It’s a case of trying to get people believing in me as much as I believe in myself. It is trying to get that across to people but it is easier said than done.
“Ideally, you are looking for someone with a lot of money who looks on you almost as a wee project, but there’s not many people like that around, unfortunately.
“I am lucky that I will probably have a year without having to worry about the money side of things but, after that, I honestly don’t know what is going to happen.
“I’m still working at Golfclubs4cash in the meantime, but the focus will now be on my golf as that is going to be my job.”
In one of his final events as an amateur, Cantley romped to a seven-shot victory in the Standard Life Gold Medal at Leven, where he joined former world No.1 Lee Westwood on the roll of honour.
“I did pretty much everything in the amateur ranks that I wanted to. The only thing I never achieved was getting into the Walker Cup,” he said.
“The highlight was playing for Scotland in the Home Internationals. You are always proud and privileged wearing that badge.
“But it feels a good time to be making the switch to the paid ranks. I’m 22 soon and if I am going to do it, now is the time. The opportunity is there for me and it is just a case of getting out there and performing.
“I’ve played with the young Scottish guys who are doing well and, if they can do it, then I feel I can as well. It’s good that you have guys like Bob MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Connor Syme doing well. It definitely spurs on the amateurs coming through. It makes you believe in yourself even more.”
Cantley is coached by Colin Brooks, the former Scottish Amateur champion who is based at the Braid Hills Golf Centre in the Capital.
“People don’t understand how instrumental Colin has been in my career,” he said. “He’s been there every step of the way and he’s struck by me through thick and thin.
“When people were maybe saying, ‘he’s not going to make it’, Colin has believed in me and pushed me when I needed to be pushed. He’s a great guy for me and I can’t thank him enough.”