Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Turkish Delight for Craig Lee sending him

off to Colombia .... it's a Challenge!

Hope springs eternal for the tour professional, and it has to, especially those quite a few rungs removed from the top of the ladder. Like 31-year-old Stirling-based Craig Lee (pictured right).
The European Tour in 2008 looked like a bridge too far for Lee who is too good to play on the Tartan Tour but not quite good enough to compete with Colin Montgomerie & Co.
But that was yesterday. What about tomorrow?
Lee tried his luck recently on the German Satellite Tour - the Renauld EPD Tour - and won two 54-hole events, the Sueno Pines Classic and the Sueno Dunes Classic, and finished joint 10th in a third, the Lykia Links Classic.
All the events were played in Turkey. A Germany Satellite Tour in Turkey? Confused? Well, you shouldn't be. I was in the golfing Antalya Region of Turkey in February 2007 and Scotland should have summer weather like it was then!
Anyway, to get back to Craig Lee. He won 8947 Euros to be precise and tops the German Satellite Tour Order of Merit at the moment.
But Craig is turning his eyes to the Challenge Tour, even though Category 12 membership of the European Tour does not guarantee him many starts ... unless he makes the most of his early openings and qualifies to play in the next event and so on.
Lee was so chuffed with how he played in Turkey that he has already spent some of that 8947 Euros in buying air tickets to Bogota, Colombia. That's where the first event on the 2009 Challenge Tour will be played - the Colombia Masters from March 19 to 22.
One small snag. He is not guaranteed a place in the field. If all the guys ahead of Craig in the pecking order enter the tournament, then Craig will have spent a fair bit of money for a sightseeing trip to Bogota!
"You have to be optimistic. I think I'll get into the Colombia Masters and the Kenya Open (Nairobi, April 16 to 19) and the Moroccan Classic (El Jadida, April 30 to May 30), and after that it will be up to me," he said.
One of the reasons he feels he struggled on the European Tour was the time and effort it took to wind down his All Swing Golf Centre business in Stirling.
"I'm glad to be getting back to a position where I am totally focused on playing golf," he said and his results in Turkey a few weeks ago, seem to support that.
Good luck, Craig. Wasn't it only yesterday I reported on him winning the Scottish assistants' championship at Spey Bay? Maybe longer but I am sure that he still wears the same size of cap as he did then. Nice guys like him should win all the time.
Just in case you are interested, the leading positions on the Renault EPD Tour after three events in Turkey are:
1 Craig Lee 8947 Euros.
2 Dennis Kupper (Ger) 5241.
3 James Ruth (Eng) 3810.
4 Max Kramer (Ger) 3645.
5 Paul Hendriksen (Eng) 3127.
Selected positions:
12 Sam Robinson (Eng) 1952.
18 Lee Corfield (Eng) 1483.



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