Slimline Armitage ready for next step

Marcus Armitage
Marcus Armitage
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Two years ago, a rather portly Marcus Armitage won 14 times in professional events.

The Howley Hall travelling pro won on the EuroPro Tour and another 13 times in one-day events such as pro-ams and PGA affiliated events.

Yet he was not satisfied.

If he was to take the next step onto the Challenge Tour, Armitage believed he had to lose weight.

So he lost five stone.

The 2014 season was not as productive as his slimline figure adjusted to a new swing he had to incorporate and a change in coach that he felt was another element to his game that needed changing.

Armitage began 2015 wondering if he could get back to the heights he scaled two years earlier, not least get any higher.

Those concerns were answered last month at the GRENKE Championship at Cumberwell Park on the EuroPro Tour, when the svelt Armitage won by a single stroke to pocket the £10,000 winners’ cheque.

“It was a win that answered a lot of questions,” conceded Armitage.

“Not just the questions I had about myself, which were quite searching and important, but the questions my sponsors had no doubt been asking, about whether I had what it took to win again on the EuroPro Tour.

“It was a vital win because it helped me prove to myself that I can win at that level.”

Ironically, Armitage’s win came after the willpower he had shown in losing the weight had slipped a little.

“I’d actually put half a stone on,” he laughed.

Not that he intends to go back to his old self. The only thing he has gone back to is an alliance with coach Duncan McCarthy, the man who tutored him through his annus mirabilis in 2013.

While the victory in June eases the pressure on his mind and wallet for the rest of the season, it does a offer a platform for him to make the most of as he continues his quest to climb the next ladder of the professional ranks.

Armitage believes he needs to earn around £20,000 on the EuroPro Tour this season to earn one of just a handful of cards on the second-tier Challenge Tour next season. He currently has £11,325 to his name.

He also has a chance to rub shoulders with those with whom he hopes to be travelling with regularly next season when he plays on the circuit’s event in Northern Ireland next month.

That is a tournament that comes after an even greater opportunity, when he plays on the European Tour’s Madeira Islands Open, an event that was postponed until August after heavy rain washed out the competition following the conclusion of the first round.

“I was tied 18th after a one-under par round that day,” lamented Armitage.

“I even began with three birdies in the first four holes.

“So I don’t go to Madeira fearing the course or the calibre of players I’ll be up against.

“I just take each tournament as it comes, no matter who the field and what the course is.

“The big difference you find between the circuits is on the EuroPro Tour, 30 or 40 of the 156 entrants can win the tournaments.

“When you line up on the Challenge Tour or European Tour, anyone of 100 players can win.”