We talk to one of our young pro­fes­sion­als who has re­cently qual­i­fied for the China Tour.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENT -

Toomey tri­umphed in Jan­uary at the China Tour In­ter­na­tional Qual­i­fy­ing stage to gain his place on the tour, along with fel­low Ki­wis Kieran Muir (Omoko­roa) and Hay­den Beard (Mount Maun­ganui). Toomey shot rounds of 74, 73, 69 and 70 in tough con­di­tions to win the qual­i­fy­ing stage tour­na­ment by three shots from second-placed Muir, while Beard fin­ished in a tie for 16th. We caught up with the former NZ Golf rep about his ex­cit­ing year ahead.

You re­cently se­cured your first pro­fes­sional win in China, tell me about the fi­nal round?

I was ac­tu­ally very ner­vous. It was the first time I had been in con­tention since I fin­ished up play­ing am­a­teur golf in 2016. I was prob­a­bly more ner­vous go­ing into the third day's play be­cause con­di­tions were very tough with the wind gust­ing up­wards of 60km per hour and I knew that a good round would al­most guar­an­tee a full card for the year, and trust me - when you're go­ing into the year with no sta­tus any­where, that's an op­por­tu­nity that you want to make the most of. Once I got through the first nine of the last day I was con­fi­dent that I would be leav­ing with a sea­son's worth of events to play so my only con­cern stand­ing on 10 was turn­ing a full card into a W. It was nice to put the ic­ing on the cake and get the mon­key off my back so early in my ca­reer.

What did it mean to you to se­cure your first win as a pro? You are only get­ting started in your pro ca­reer, what does it mean to have the se­cu­rity of a card all year in China?

It means ev­ery­thing. Play­ing well once or twice and se­cur­ing your card across a sea­son is not overly dif­fi­cult. Giv­ing your­self a chance to play a full sea­son's worth of events how­ever is a whole 'nother beast. I know guys that have been on tour for 25 years and are still tack­ling cer­tain qual­i­fy­ing schools. So at risk of sound­ing like I haven't earned the right to have this opin­ion, let me tell you - Q Schools suck! You get one chance, once a year to get it right. I can only be hon­est and hon­estly - that's a pretty dif­fi­cult pill to swal­low.

If I'm com­pletely hon­est though, the most valu­able les­son I learned from my time in the pro­gram was in­ter­nal. I was your typ­i­cal 15-year-old with ev­ery opin­ion in the world - all show and no go. By the time I left, all I wanted to do was lis­ten.

Much like sit­ting ex­ams at school or work and know­ing that a brief test isn't re­ally an ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your knowl­edge, the same goes for Q schools. How­ever, what I love about them is that they make us, as golfers, ac­count­able; ac­count­able for our train­ing, work ethic, op­por­tu­nity, will, goals, dreams, ev­ery­thing. If that doesn't get you up in the morn­ing then I don't know what will.

It must have been even more spe­cial to have fel­low Ki­wis Kieran Muir and Hay­den Beard also se­cure their cards?

Ab­so­lutely. The ques­tion I've had most so far is how I deal with travel. In a short an­swer - mates. I'm so blessed to have such good peo­ple around me. My team, my spon­sors in Titleist and Au­tex, my fam­ily, and my mates! To have those guys on tour with me makes all the dif­fer­ence.

You had a suc­cess­ful am­a­teur ca­reer and trav­elled a lot with NZ Golf - has that helped with your tran­si­tion to pro golf?

For sure. There's no doubt that my stint in the NZG pro­gram most def­i­nitely helped. The ex­po­sure they gave me to elite com­pe­ti­tion and the op­por­tu­nity to play along­side the world's best def­i­nitely al­lowed me to progress and at a min­i­mum, un­der­stand how high the bar is and work out a plan to jump as high. If I'm com­pletely hon­est though, the most valu­able les­son I learned from my time in the pro­gram was in­ter­nal. I was your typ­i­cal 15-year-old with ev­ery opin­ion in the world - all show and no go. By the time I left, all I wanted to do was lis­ten. Don't get me wrong, hav­ing your fil­ter di­alled in at all times is a must – there's a lot of ex­cess in­for­ma­tion out there and in an age of in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, it can be far too easy to be led astray. How­ever, learn­ing to be be­come truly self-aware and hav­ing the courage to step out­side of you ego and take on feed­back and crit­i­cism is by far the great­est gift they could've pos­si­bly given me.

What are you look­ing for­ward to this year in China? It will be a fun year with all the Kiwi lads?

It's pretty dif­fi­cult to look past the path­way each tour has to big­ger tours - those be­ing full play­ing rights on the Euro­pean Tour for the win­ner of the Reg­u­lar China Tours' Or­der of Merit, and full cards for the Web. com will be given to the top five on the PGA Tour of China's Or­der of Merit. I've been hol­ing putts on the prac­tice green to win The Masters since I was four years old watch­ing Tiger Woods in '97. To have a di­rect path­way in front of me now gives me goose­bumps! Is it go­ing to be even more fun with the Kiwi lads? Hell yeah, bro!

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