Boyd Up For The Challenge- Gary Boyd with Andy Roberts

Earmarked for potential greatness after an electric start to his professional career on the European Tour, Gary Boyd speaks to guest contrib...

Earmarked for potential greatness after an electric start to his professional career on the European Tour, Gary Boyd speaks to guest contributor Andy Roberts, on his three-week break before the season finale in Dubai…
Andy Roberts


ENGLISH golf is going through a purple patch right now. It may have been 14 years since we last witnessed a home-grown major champion when Nick Faldo slipped on the green jacket at Augusta, but the wait for another is very nearly over. Lee Westwood has finally ended Tiger Woods’ 281-week reign as world number one and the likes of Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Ross Fisher sit within a gimme’s length behind. But one of our hottest young talents on the European Tour right now is Gary Boyd.

GARYBOYDWINS-761479 Hardly a week goes by without another Englishman appearing on the scene marked as ‘one to watch’ and Boyd is no exception.

A big future was predicted for him as an amateur in 2006 when he claimed multiple wins, including the Asia Pacific Championship. After turning pro at the end of 2007, Boyd headed to the 2008 Challenge Tour. He began the season with two runner-up finishes in Argentina and Poland but failed to capitalise on the good start, finishing nine places and £15,800 short of the automatic qualification to the European Tour.

But the youngster from Banbury proved what a difference a year can make in golf when he triumphed in the 2009 Kenya Open. He took control of the season-opener with a superb second round 64 and was never headed on the way to his first professional victory.

81936697 Boyd went on to finish seventh in the overall Challenge Tour Rankings with earnings well over £100,000, securing himself a coveted European Tour card for 2010.

It was a slow start to his first full European Tour season, with just five top-20 finishes in the space of seven months, but fortunes changed at the Czech Open in August.

Boyd opened with steady rounds of 72 and 70 and then burst into life over the weekend with two rounds of 68. He closed his final round with an incredible birdie three at the 453 yards par 4 to get into a three man playoff with Swedish Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson and Irishman Peter Lawrie.

To his despair, the Swede rolled in an 18-foot putt on the second playoff hole to win, but the runners-up spot gave the Englishman a much-needed confidence to kick on.

“That was the highlight of my year so far,” reflected Boyd.

“I needed to make a birdie up the last to get into a playoff and I did it. Under that sort of pressure, the iron shot and the putt were the greatest two shots I hit this season,” he added.

102107570Two weeks later, Boyd received his biggest-ever cheque with a fourth place finish at the hotly-contested Alfred Dunhill Links in Scotland, finishing five shots behind world number three and reigning US PGA Champion Martin Kaymer.

The streaky Englishman continued his impressive form in October with a ninth place at the Portugal Masters and a third at Spain’s Castello Masters.

He said: “Three top-five finishes in the space of four weeks proves I really do belong out here and it is great to see that the hard work is paying off.

“I am a lot more confident than I was at the start of the season and I believe in myself now.”

Much of that confidence has been installed by his close friend, Ian Poulter, who has mentored Boyd since he turned pro. Boyd, who wears the IJP (Ian Poulter apparel) logo on the collar of his shirts, could not speak highly enough of the world number 14.

“Poults has been fantastic to me – he bigs me up all the time,” chuckled Boyd.

“He is one of the most confident golfers on the planet and without doubt he has built that confidence into me with certain compliments and beliefs.

“The guy is absolute class. He has won all over the world, played in three Ryder Cups and has been there in the amateur world, so he knows what I have gone through.”

There is also plenty of camaraderie on the practice range between Manchester United fanatic Boyd and Arsenal-mad Poulter.

“There is always banter between us and some of the other guys, but it’s nice as it takes your mind off the golf every now and again,” he added.

Life on the European Tour is not easy, living out of a suitcase, but he explained he takes these things in his stride.

“The travelling is tiring, especially when there are plane delays, but I have been doing this for three years now and I am slowly getting used to it,” he said.

“This season, I played probably six more tournaments than in previous years but I try and play no more than three events in a row.

“It is important that when you finish your round, you head back to the hotel and just chill out with the guys.”

Boyd currently sits 49th in the Race to Dubai Standings but knows a big finish at the season-ending Dubai World Championship this week will reap rich rewards.

“I want to try and push into the top 30 in the Race to Dubai because that will give me more starts in the majors next year,” he said.

“With the confidence I have installed towards the end of this season, I am hopeful I will move into the world’s top 100 and win very soon.”

Boyd appears to be a man in control of his emotions and knows exactly what he wants out of the next four years.

“It would obviously be great to make the 2012 Ryder Cup side, but I laid out an eight-year plan four years ago to get a place in 2014. That is the goal I set and I will stick to it, but you never know in this game,” he said.

English golf has seen a significant resurgence of late with 17 Englishmen marching into the world’s top 140 and Westwood knocking Tiger off the top of the world.

The current pool of emerging English talent, includes his good friends John Parry and Danny Willett. “Yes, it really is fantastic, I have grown up with John and Danny and we seem to be the ones thriving this year,” he said.

But Boyd believes much of our current success is down to the support that comes from off the course.

“We are very fortunate to have funding from the English Golf Union – they continue to provide top class coaching around the country and it is credit to them when we look at the rankings today,” he confirmed.

Refreshed after a three-week break, Boyd has fine-tuned his game with coaches David Leadbetter and Sean Hogan in preparation for the season finale in Dubai. His confidence is sky high at the moment and it would come as no surprise if he produces another big finish against Europe’s elite at the Jumeirah Golf Estates Course this week.

 

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GolfCentralDaily | Golf Parody Fun Gossip Jokes Betting Tips: Boyd Up For The Challenge- Gary Boyd with Andy Roberts
Boyd Up For The Challenge- Gary Boyd with Andy Roberts
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