Croxley Green golfer Sam Little says he could have finished higher than 29th at the Scottish Hydro Challenge at the weekend but believes he is now beginning to adapt to the European Challenge Tour schedule.
Little finished with an eight under par score of 276 at the Scottish Hydro Challenge on Sunday but insists he could have finished higher up the leaderboard after an excellent start.
“The way I played, I could have finished in the top ten. I thought it might have gone a bit better if a few more putts went in,” admitted Little, who scooped €2,025 in prize money in the process.
“Twenty-ninth is fairly average to be honest. My aim is always to finish in the top ten. A better finish than that is great but lower than that is average for me.”
A five under par score of 66 in the first round put Little in joint third but after carding 72 and 70 in the next two rounds, the 39-year-old tumbled out of contention.
Reflecting on the event at the picturesque Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club, Little pointed to the difference in the European Tour and European Challenge Tour schedules – something he is struggling to adapt to.
Little, who currently sits 79th on the Order of Merit, earned his full card in 2004 and spent the next six years on the European Tour before returning to the European Challenge Tour in 2010.
“It’s been a slow start to the season because the Challenge Tour starts so late compared to the European Tour,” explained Little. “I feel like I am getting there now and playing better golf and that it is time to kick on.
“Normally I’m playing in January, February and March but this year I’ve started in Kenya in March and only played a few more events by the start of May, so it is hard to get yourself going properly.
“Now I feel like I’m there, hopefully I can kick on,” Little stated.
The Challenge Tour season is only nine events old for Little, who is currently in Germany preparing for the Aegean Airlines Challenge Tour and says the pressure of trying to earn his Tour card is one he ‘lives with’.
“There’s another 13 or 14 events left on this year so I’m not going to panic just yet.
“It’s been a bit of a disappointing start to the year and I know I am a better player than I have shown so far,” reasoned Little. “When I have played a few more events I’m sure I’ll be closer to where I want to be.
“It is something we have [having to earn their Tour card]; we have got that pressure and we live with it.”
Bushey's Callum Shinkwin was also competing at the event but narrowly missed the cut for the third day.
Shinkwin carded a one under par 70 on the first day of the event and the 21-year-old ended with the same score after his second round.
But it wasn’t enough to seal a passage to the third day of the competition as he just missed out.
“I didn’t make it by a single shot,” Shinkwin said. “It’s a real shame because I would’ve loved to have made it to the weekend because I felt I was playing well and I wasn’t far off a place in the top 20.
“If I had made the cut then I could have maybe moved up into those positions. So I was a little bit gutted that I didn’t make it to be honest.”