It has been a quiet year on the European Tour for Thomas Aiken, and he will hope that he starts making a noise in this weekÂs Italian Open to get him into position to compete at the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Aiken, who got married this year, is in his first year of a two-year exemption into European Tour events after he won the Open de España in 2011 for his maiden title in Europe, and has just two top-10 finishes to his credit this year.
It helped his cause immeasurably that his best performance came in the Open Championship where he finished seventh behind champion Ernie Els. That earned him Â180,006, and thatÂs part of the reason heÂs in 66th spot in the Race to Dubai.
But to play in the Dubai World Championship, he needs to get into the top 60, and with two missed cuts and a 26th-place finish in last weekÂs KLM Open, he knows he needs to crank things up a little.
He cruised to his victory with a 10-under-par total in 2011, but in this yearÂs Open de España, he was seven-over-par in 46th spot.
He has played considerably less this year than he did in 2011, during which he racked up nine top-10s, accumulated Â1,055,894 in prize-money and ended the year in 87th spot on the Official World Golf Rankings.
HeÂs played in just 14 tournaments this year, and started the year well enough with 14th in the Africa Open and ninth in the Volvo Champions. However, since then, last weekÂs KLM Open was his first finish inside 30 bar his superb Open Championship.
He has to be feeling that the honeymoonÂs over, and a good Italian Open will start the upward curve on his yearÂs performance.