Callum Shinkwin secured a second-place finish at the Challenge de Catalunya event in Spain and the Bushey golfer is already closing in on retaining his Challenge Tour card for 2015.
The 20-year-old, who practices at Moor Park Golf Club, carded 11-under-par to seal the runners-up spot behind Spaniard Antonio Hortel, who ended on 14-under-par.
It meant Shinkwin, who turned professional last year, earned €17,600 in prize money. If he secures €22,000 he seals his place on next year’s Challenge Tour.
“I’m enjoying being a professional and now I am also making money from it,” he said. “Before I turned pro it was my job but it was more a hobby.
“Making money from the events is important because it helps you get that card for next year.
“I am just over €4,000 short of that amount already which will help me because once you get that it takes some of the stress away.
“You don’t want to play badly whenever you play but if you know you have already got your card then it takes a little bit of the pressure off you.”
The competition in Spain, which was shortened to three rounds due to adverse weather, was Shinkwin’s third on the Challenge Tour.
Shinkwin started well and posted a first round score of 66 – it was a total which put him five-under-par after the first day.
A second round of 68 followed to put Shinkwin in contention at the top of the leaderboard. He scored 68 in his final round and ended with a total of 202.
That was enough for second spot and he finished two shots ahead of Andrew Johnston and Cyril Bouniol, who finished on nine-under-par.
“I went there not playing too well but in practice that started to change,” Shinkwin said. “I managed to get onto a roll in that first round and once that happened my game continued to get better and better.
“So I was feeling really good and it’s the first course I have managed to finish under par at this year.
“The weather meant I wasn’t able to play on the second day though.
“That was frustrating because I couldn’t do much. I did a little bit of practicing and then I just went to the beach, to be honest it was pretty boring.”
He continued: “It’s a shame and if four rounds had been played I may have had a better chance of winning because I was getting better as the tournament went on.
“But I wasn’t ever in first place during the three rounds, I think the closest I got was one stroke behind.
“So there is no feeling that I could have won it. I wasn’t playing along with him and I finished my round before he did, so there was nothing I could do.”
Shinkwin struggled in his opening Challenge Tour events. He finished in 126th position at the first event in Kenya and failed to make the cut for the third round in the second competition, the NH Collection Open in Cadiz, Spain, earlier this month.
However, he said remaining patient was key to rediscovering his best form.
He explained: “I didn’t change anything.You keep practicing and do what you would normally do. I’ve worked on little things, like my putting, but not too much changed from that first tournament in Kenya.
“I think in Kenya it was more a case of nerves and that’s what affected my performance.”
Shinkwin will rest this week before flying out to Portugal for the Madeira Islands Open – a European Tour event – which begins next Thursday.
“That’s going to be a good challenge for me,” he said. “It won’t be easy but it is something I’m really looking forward to.”