Royal Burgess man James Ross delighted to record EuroPro Tour win
James Ross reckons the pain from some amateur dramatics on the PGA EuroPro Tour helped him record a breakthrough win as a professional on the third-tier circuit.
The 29-year-old Royal Burgess man landed The Nokia Masters at Mannings Heath in West Sussex on Saturday after coming out on top in a tense finish to the 54-hole event.
The £10,000 win has lifted Ross up to 11th in the circuit’s Race to Desert Springs, putting him in the mix for five Challenge Tour cards up for grabs.
“It felt kind of surreal,” said the 2013 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year, of his success. “It was a bit of relief as well because it was such a grind due to the weather being so miserable.
“My last win was three years ago in a winter 36-holer in Dallas. It’s definitely been a while.
“It’s been a pretty challenging last three years, but I’ve gone back to my old coach, Steve Brian, at the Burgess, having made that move in March or April.
“He came out to the US for a week and since then we have simplified everything. It has got me thinking a bit clearer. I know my faults and the things I am good at.”
Ross was still in the amateur ranks when he had a golden chance to win on the PGA EuroPro Tour in an event at his home club in 2014.
He led by one standing on the 18th tee only to go out of bounds and end up having to settle for a tie for sixth following a triple-boegy 7.
“That was ringing in my ears a bit on Saturday and I made sure I knew where I stood on the 18th tee this time,” he admitted.
“In the event five years ago, I teed off at the last not knowing where I stood and was over-a ggressive when I shouldn’t have been.
“It was a disappointment at the time, but I was an amateur and it was all part of the process and all part of learning.
“In fact, I don’t think I’d have won on Saturday if I didn’t have that experience behind me, so it was probably invaluable from that point of view.”
Ross is based these days in Houston and was only planning to be back in Scotland for a few weeks before getting a run of starts on the PGA EuroPro Tour, having moved on to Frilford Heath for another one this week.
“I came back in June and planned to only be back for a few weeks, maybe a month,” he said. “This week’s one is my fifth EuroPro event and because I’ve had a half decent run it just doesn’t make sense for me to go back any time soon.”
When he does, Ross will be a married man as he is set to marry his American fiancée, Meghan, a fortnight on Saturday.
“I was playing with Neil Fenwick at Mannings Heath and he was saying that he’s getting married this Saturday then mine is two weeks’ after that,” said Ross. “My win will definitely add to the day - it’s another excuse to celebrate.
“Meghan was in the States as the event was taking place last week and she did a happy dance with her mum in Starbucks when the news came though that I’d won while my parents (dad Doug is also a Royal Burgess member) were sitting hitting the refresh button on the website like everyone else.”
After a spell at college in the US, Calum Hill is currently taking the Challenge Tour by storm and Ross is hoping he can now secure that opportunity for next season. “I had planned to go to Ireland this week for the Challenge Tour event, but, having won on the EuroPro, I am not a stone’s throw away from top five, so that seems the more realistic chance for me this year,” he said.
“I would still have to play in seven Challenge Tour events in order for my money to count, so I don’t think that makes sense. It’s been a surprising year because my category has got me into nothing this year. I’ve only played in one event and apparently last year I’d have got into ten or 12.”