Porteous eyes big European Tour stage
Young South African golf sensation Haydn Porteous is hoping to keep his spot in the top 15 of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit so he can qualify for the European Tour at the end of the year.
The challenge is a feeder to the more prominent European circuit, which allows players to compete at one of the highest levels on golf’s second-biggest stage in the world. The biggest stage in world golf is the US PGA Tour. Porteous (21), the country’s former top amateur, earned a card to campaign in the challenge after winning the Kenya Open at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi in April after a special invitation.
In that contest, he holed out an eagle to claim a play-off victory against compatriot Brandon Stone on the way to carding an impressive 17-under-par-271.
This secured Porteous his maiden victory since turning professional in late 2013 after a glittering amateur career.
Porteous has played in eight events on the tour and is ranked ninth on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman. His total earnings on the current standings are €46 267 (R643 645). ( See box.)
In an exclusive interview from Madeira in Portugal, where he was preparing for the Madeira Island Open that finishes today, Porteous said he was fighting hard to maintain his consistency in the challenge’s standings and swing his way on to the leaderboard of the high-profile tour.
“I have done well so far in the Challenge Tour events that I have competed in,” said Porteous.
“I have played in eight events and have finished well although I have not won as yet. “This augurs well for me. “It will enable me to finish with good earnings before I can compete against Europe’s best,” he said.
Porteous said his aim was to play in 15 more games before he could get what he called “the biggest break”.
He was confident of making a mark in top-flight golf.
Porteous said campaigning in the elite tour would allow him to follow in the footsteps of top South African golfers like Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, both of whom have previously won majors.
Porteous will tee up in the Northern Ireland Open in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, on Thursday.
“I have prepared hard for the coming contest and I should win it convincingly.
“I have worked on my swing, which has been bothering me,” he said.
Porteous is mentored by Gavan Levenson from Glendower Country Club in Johannesburg.
Porteous’ father, Dave, believes he has the potential to make a mark in Europe.
“He takes his game seriously. I have no doubt he will make the grade in the near future,” said the father.
Unlike many professional golfers in South Africa who struggle with sponsorship, Porteous enjoys backing from leading sports apparel brands such as Under Armour, Callaway, Titleist and FootJoy.
IN FOCUS Haydn Porteous has his sights on the European Tour