Ruth looks ahead to India and Kenya trips
St Mellion touring professional James Ruth is eagerly looking forward to a full season on the PGA European Challenge Tour in 2013.
The 27-year-old claimed a regular starting spot on the coveted Challenge Tour following a tied 39th finish at the pressure-cooker PGA European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in Spain.
Ruth – who carded a fifth-round 71 after crucially making the fourth round cut – upped his game with a three-under-par final-round score of 69 around the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya Resort.
After six gruelling rounds the Devon-based ace totalled a two-under-par 426 to finish just three shots off the top 24 and ties qualifying for a place on next year's full European Tour.
Nevertheless Ruth had achieved his pre-tournament target of a Challenge Tour place and with it regular fixtures throughout the season.
Yesterday Ruth revealed: "The priority at Tour School was making the cut. Once I did that, I relaxed and played some good golf. I was focused on making the cut and making sure that I got a Challenge Tour place in the bag.
"I only played one Challenge Tour event last year and finished just off 30th, when I didn't think I had played that well. So I'm looking forward to a full season on the tour to see what I can do.
"Even when I was on the main Tour, I was not playing as regularly as I'd like. I guess you could say my opportunities were limited and it has been that way for a while now, so the thought of a full tour schedule next year is great."
The first European Challenge Tour event also promises a first for Devonian Ruth – the chance to play in India.
He said: "I have not played in India before so it will be a new experience – and I'm really looking forward to it."
The new European Challenge Tour season tees off with the Gujarat Kensville Challenge from January 31 to February 3.
The past two Challenge Tour campaigns have begun at Kensville Golf and Country Club in Ahmedabad, with Max Kieffer taking the title this year, following in the footsteps of home winner Gaganjeet Bhullar in 2011.
The 2013 edition will feature an increased field of 120 players – 63 Challenge Tour Members and 57 from the Professional Golf Tour of India – and carry a prize fund of 200,000 euros.
The second tournament on the 2013 schedule will be the Barclays Kenya Open, which returns to Karen Golf Club in Nairobi from February 14-17 for the first time since 2008.
A full 2013 European Challenge Tour schedule has still to be released.