Tyrone Ferreira is aiming to use his close friend and travelling partner last year, Branden Grace, as his inspiration as the South African looks to make this his breakthrough season on the Challenge Tour.
Ferreira has watched in astonishment and delight as his compatriot made a glorious ascent to the summit of the Race to Dubai Rankings with back-to-back wins at the Joburg Open and the Volvo Golf Champions.
It was a run of results which didnÂt come as too much of a surprise to Ferreira, despite the fact that Grace failed to enter the winnerÂs circle during three seasons on the Challenge Tour.
ÂLast year on the Challenge Tour, he hit the ball great but he struggled with his putting,Â said the 24 year old. ÂHeÂs been hitting the ball beautifully for two years now and I think when he putts well, then heÂs there.
ÂI think he had a good putting week when he won. HeÂs so consistent with hitting the ball. He never has a bad round with that.Â
Ferreira admitted that when he saw Grace miss the putt to win on the 18th hole at The Links at Fancourt, he didnÂt think a second successive win was on the cards, but said that it eventually made the victory all the better to watch, as he out-played two South African golfing heroes in the shape of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.
ÂWhen the play-off came around, to be honest, I didnÂt think he was going to win,Â conceded Ferreira, whose best finish on The European Tour came at the 2008 Joburg Open, finishing eighth. ÂBut from the beginning of the week I definitely thought he had a chance because itÂs his home course.
ÂUltimately, though, missing that putt meant he beat Retief and Ernie in a play-off, which made it all the sweeter.Â While Ferreira admits that things wonÂt be quite the same out on the Challenge Tour this year without his travelling partner, he is hopeful of following in his spike marks this year and earning his European Tour status.
The Johannesburg man finished tied 40th at The Gujarat Kensville Challenge in India last week, but thinks that things will only get better this year with the advantage of a full playing category.
ÂI’m going to play the whole season here on the Challenge Tour and see how it goes,Â he said, ÂI was 42nd last year. It was a good year because I didnÂt have a category so I just played with a few invites early on and then I had a top five at the Barclays Kenya Open.
ÂI’m going to try and finish top 20 this year and get a European Tour card. Last year it was very last-minute a lot of the time, every Monday I got into tournaments so it was a bit of a struggle. But at least this year I can pick my tournaments and I can try and get my putting right and IÂll be good to go.
ÂI know I need to work hard this season. As Branden has proven, it takes just one good week which gets you on track so I need to work hard to try and get back with him, catch up with him.
ÂIf I get a good putting week, I should be up there. IÂm hitting the ball well. I’ve got two weeks off now so IÂm going to try out a few different putters.
ÂI suppose IÂll miss Branden a bit this year,Â he concluded. ÂBut at least he left for good reasons. Hopefully now I can join him next year.Â
Article: European Tour