Thomas Aiken hasn’t played many tournaments on the European Tour, but his resume is sneakily good enough to keep him in 24th position on the Race to Dubai rankings ahead of this week’s BMW International Open in Germany.
Aiken, who won the Africa Open in East London in February, has only played eight tournaments on the European Tour schedule in 2014, but with that victory and four other top-10 finishes to his credit, he is clearly one to watch at Cologne’s Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof when the tournament tees off on Thursday.
Aiken is currently in third spot on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit thanks to his win in East London, his share of fifth in the Joburg Open, of 24th in the Tswane Open and of 15th in the Investec Cup – and it’s a position he will almost certainly not hold when he returns to play in Sunshine Tour events later in the year as he will have been overtaken by Danie van Tonder.
But it is Europe which has his attention right now, and, if he has been working on his putting with any degree of success, he seems likely to have a good tournament in Germany.
His putting has been the weak link in a game which has put him in position to contend: He’s ranked 149th with his 30.2 in putts per round, and if he improves that figure given his brilliant performance in greens per round – his 13.8 per round gives him a success rate of 76.6 per cent, for second position on the European Tour – he is going to be very difficult to beat.
That is especially true with his current stroke average of 69.8 over 41 rounds, which has him in third spot on the tour.
And those statistics combined with his dependable driving – he’s 14th on the tour for accuracy off the tee at 71.8 percent – all add up to the real possibility that Aiken could be in contention for a second 2014 title on the European Tour.