By Joy Chakravathy at the Turkish Airlines Open
Belek [TURKEY]: Quite literally, Gavin Green is just a couple of steps away from realising one of his biggest goals for 2019 – qualifying for European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
Ranked 68th in the Race to Dubai, the Malaysian ace has made it to the top-70 field in the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya this week. Next step is to make sure of his place in the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, where only the top-60 players get a start. And if all goes well these two weeks, Green will make a cherished debut at the top-50 only tournament in Dubai.
The 25-year-old was enjoying a solid summer in Europe – a run of five top-20s in eight starts from the Belgium Knockout to Scandinavian Invitational – but has struggled over the last few weeks.
However, a three-day session with his coach Chris O’Connell in Kuala Lumpur has put the spring back in his steps.
“I am very happy to be here. However, there is a lot of work to be done to get into next week. I know I am close to getting into Nedbank, but there are a lot of good players chasing me,” said Green after a long day of practice at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal.
“Hopefully, I will do well in these two weeks and get into Dubai. I just have to play it shot-by-shot and take it week-by-week.
“The last few weeks haven’t been good for me. I have been struggling with my game. It’s no fun when you are unable to control the ball the way you want to.
“I had my coach coming down to KL last week and we touched up on a few things. We worked hard and I feel like a new man right now. I feel a lot better about my game and I think I have control of my golf ball. So, I am very excited about this week.”
Green played the tournament last year, but it was then held at the neighbouring Regnum Carya. After playing nine holes on Sunday and the remaining nine on Monday, he was feeling comfortable on the golf course, but set modest goals for himself.
“I love the golf course. The greens are soft and a bit grainy, so it feels like Malaysia,” he added.
“Everybody tees up hoping to win, but I am aiming for a top-10, top-20 finish. I have a bit of a leeway for next event (as per the current entry list, he can only be denied a trip to Sun City if five players behind him in the Race to Dubai overtake him), but I obviously want to be inside the top-50 as soon as possible.
“I just want to have a good solid week. What would make me happy is if I have four rounds under par. That is the aim. I have got into contention this year and then dropped out because of one poor round. It’s frustrating.”
Green showed off a new TaylorMade Del Monte putter on his Instagram a couple of days ago, but he has decided not to put it in his bag just yet.
“It’s been custom made for me, but I don’t want to use it this week. I will continue with the Odyssey as I need to get used to my new putter. I think it will happen only after Dubai,” he added.
Green has been paired with Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and England’s Ross Fisher the first couple of days. He starts his campaign on Thursday at 1155 local time (1655 in Malaysia).