Hunstanton ace Kit Holmes gearing up for professional challenge on Europro Tour
- Credit: Archant
Kit Holmes doesn't have to look far to find some inspiration as he embarks on the first steps of what he hopes will be a successful career as a tournament professional.
The 23-year from Hunstanton will be following in the footsteps of another Norfolk player, Will Harrold, when he participates in qualifying school for the Europro Tour at the end of March.
This time last year Harrold was in exactly the same position as the 2012 county amateur champion. Now, after a season to remember that yielded no fewer than three victories, he has full playing privileges on the second tier Challenge Tour and has his sights set on competing alongside the game's elite.
Holmes has his feet firmly on the ground as he prepares for what promises to be an exciting year – but knows what can be achieved if he adapts quickly to the demands of the professional scene and plays the standard of golf he is capable of.
'What Will achieved last year shows what can be done,' he said. 'He just seemed to hit the ground running and went on to have a brilliant season.
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'If something like that happened to me I think I would be jumping through hoops at the end of the year!
'It's a big challenge, I know, because there are a lot of good young players on the Europro Tour but as Will showed if you knuckle down and play well you can make progress.
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'My game is in good shape – I am down to plus three now – and I think I am as fit I've ever been after doing a lot of work in the gym. It was the right time to turn pro' – and by the time tour school comes around I will be ready to give it my best shot.'
Holmes, who will be representing home club Hunstanton, is currently in Spain honing his skills by playing events on the satellite Gecko Tour. He hopes that will give him a competitive edge when Europro Tour qualifying gets under way at Slaley Hall in Northumberland on March 31. The aim will be to get through that one, and the second qualifier at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire a week later, and then be in the field when the first event of the season gets under way in the middle of May at Celtic Manor.
Holmes has been building towards the challenge of professional tournament golf since successfully completing a four-year stint at the University of Stirling studying sport and exercise. He spent much of last year playing on the national amateur circuit and gave a good account of himself in an extremely competitive environment.
'It certainly sharpened up my game,' he said. 'I played steadily, had some decent finishes and ended up 45th on the Order of Merit. I also managed to get a world amateur ranking of 635.
'At the end of the season I gave European Tour School a try and just missed out on qualifying at Frilford Heath – but it was a good year overall and made me realise it was time to try and make the step up.'
Holmes is one of a trio of west Norfolk players to have made their mark at national level in recent years. King's Lynn's Luke Johnson recorded a couple of big wins as an amateur last season on his way to a 10th-place finish on England Golf's Titleist Order of Merit and is planning to turn professional in September while Jack Yule of Middleton Hall also travelled the country to compete against the best last term, having won both the Norfolk Amateur and Open titles. He finished 42nd on the 2014 Order of Merit.