Golf: Gavins flies off to tackle mounting Challenge

Daniel Gavins

Daniel Gavins

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Having finished 2013 with a flourish, Pontefract golfer Daniel Gavins has quickly learned that life on the golf course doesn’t always go your way.

Not that the 23-year-old who plays out of Oulton Hall expected things to be handed to him on a silver plate, but his elevation to the Challenge Tour – the second tier of professional golf on the continent – after a blistering conclusion to last year’s EuroPro Tour, has not begun as productively as he had hoped.

In five tournaments on the Tour he has missed four cuts and withdrawn once after firing an opening round 80 at the Madeira Islands Open.

During tournaments in Kenya, Catalunya, Turkey and recently the Czech Republic, he has not broken 70 once.

Yet the driven young West Yorkshireman is not getting too downbeat.

If anything, he is determined to play himself into form – that’s why he jets off at short notice today to the Canary Islands to play the Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana at Tecina Golf at La Gomera.

The tournament starts tomorrow, meaning Gavins will not have any practice time on the course before teeing it up in competition.

“My form has kind of forced my hand,” said Gavins.

“I wasn’t going to play this week but after missing the cut in the Czech Republic I need to be out there playing.

“The results haven’t gone my way but it’s not as though I’m playing badly or as if the step-up in competition is too big a gulf to bridge.

“Even though I’m a little disappointed with the way I’ve started, I feel as though I’m close.”

Gavins has concentrated on his short game in practice this week with that crucial facet of tournament golf so far being his undoing.

“It’s just the scoring that’s letting me down,” he conceded, “so I’ve been working hard on the old chipping and putting.

“I feel as though I’m quite capable of competing at this level.”

The lessons he is currently learning were something he would gladly have taken 12 months ago, before his career burst into life on the third tier EuroPro Tour.

He earned a victory and four top-two finishes from the middle of July onwards – including a runner-up finish at September’s Clipper Logistics Championship at Moor Allerton – to storm into a second-place finish on the order of merit.

After doing so he set himself a timeframe of three years to get onto the European Tour.

And he is not in any mood now to rush himself, just because things have not started so well.

The step-up from EuroPro to Challenge Tour is a big one, but Gavins feels he has taken that in his stride.

“At first it’s a bit different,” admitted Gavins, who is still reaping the financial benefits of last season when he earned more than £32,000 from playing golf.

“I was used to the EuroPro Tour being solely in Britain, but now I’m travelling Europe and even started the season in Kenya.

“But you quickly get used to it, it’s just a case of booking flights on the website.

“My target was to make it to the European Tour in three years and that has not changed.

“Right now I’m concentrating on taking it a tournament at a time and not putting any undue pressure on my shoulders – starting this week.”

Players gather for a group photograph ahead of Headingleys marathon golfing day, which saw 25 players play five rounds.

Headingley’s ace marathon day has raised £10k for Wakefield Hospice