Marshall is confident of keeping card

CHRIS WISE Andrew Marshall remains confident of retaining his European Tour card this season - despite missing his fifth cut in six tournaments at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the weekend.

CHRIS WISE

Andrew Marshall remains confident of retaining his European Tour card this season - despite missing his fifth cut in six tournaments at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the weekend.

The Dereham professional could have done his chances a power of good by recording a decent finish in the Tour's flagship event.

But he was unable to recover from a poor opening round of 79 and bowed out with a triple bogey eight the following day to inadvertently book himself another free weekend.

Marshall has had just one pay day since finishing tied for 25th in the Madeira Island Open at the end of March, and that was scarcely a big cause for celebration, with a final round of 79 at the recent Irish Open seeing him plummet down the field to pick up just E9,000, when he would have tripled that sum by merely holding his position.

The recent poor form has left the Norfolk pro languishing in 145th place on the European Tour's Order of Merit with E62,696 to his name - that's £42,500 - and needing to double his money quickly just to be challenging for a finish that would guarantee him playing privileges for next season. It all sounds about as gloomy as the miserable weather that engulfed Wentworth on the final day of the BMW Championship at the weekend. But, with of a crucial run of big summer tournaments looming, Marshall is convinced he has got what it takes to come through one of his biggest challenges as a professional.

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"The most important thing is that my game is actually in pretty good shape right now, despite recent results," he said. "If I was playing really badly I would be worried, but there aren't too many problems. I should be scoring a lot better than I am and that's obviously something that needs to change, and sooner rather than later.

"I just seem to be having bad runs of scoring at the moment which ruins all the hard work I have put in. Wentworth was a case in point. I was six over par for the final three holes over the two days I was there - and with the last two being par fives that was where most people were picking up shots.

"On the Friday I picked up five shots in 10 holes on what is a very testing course to give myself an outside chance of making the cut - but then I started dropping shots again before four-putting on the last from no great distance for an eight. I'd made a decent fist of it up until then, but the finish was really frustrating.

"You can make some good money at the PGA Championship just by making the cut so to miss out was disappointing to say the least, but there are plenty of tournaments to come and I am not getting despondent. I am confident I will make enough to keep my card."

Marshall is already preparing for his next challenge - the Celtic Manor Welsh Open which gets under way on Thursday - and will then play in the following week's BA-CA Open in Austria before taking a break ahead of another sequence of big tournaments leading up to the Open Championship at Carnoustie, starting on July 19.

He is under no illusions about the importance of the next couple of months, and knows only too well that talk of playing well without getting any reward will start wearing thin if he continues to miss out on the cash.

"I'm well aware of the position I am in," he said. "I need to pull my finger out - and quickly - if I am going to keep my card. I just need to cut out the errors, put together some decent scores and make some money - and Celtic Manor would be a good place to start."

Marshall's determination to move up the Order of Merit means he won't be attempting to qualify for next month's US Open via the European play-off.

"I'll be taking that week off to recharge my batteries before another run of tournaments, starting with the BMW International in Munich," he said. "It is important I get my priorities right and that has to be to keep my card."

Marshall will also be giving the Tour play-off for Carnoustie places a miss - but does intend to participate in final qualifying in Scotland.

"I have got in that way for the past two years and hopefully I can do it again," he said.