Golf professional Paul Nessling has taken a first step towards his ambition of playing on the European Tour by securing a full card for the Alps Tour in 2018.
Hastings-based Nessling, of Cooden Beach Golf Club, came through two stages at the Alps Tour Qualifying School in Spain to earn full playing rights for next year.
Both stages took place at the La Cala Resort in Malaga. The first stage comprised two rounds on the America Course and Nessling recovered superbly from an opening 81 - his worst of the year - with a second round 66 to go through to the next stage.
After a two-day gap between events, the second stage was played over three rounds with a 36-hole cut.
Nessling again got off to a tough start with a seven-over-par first round 79 on the Asia Course containing two birdies, six bogeys and a triple bogey.
But he hit back with a splendid three-under-par second round 68 on the America Course featuring an eagle on the 18th, five birdies and four bogeys.
Nessling completed the recovery with a very good two-under-par third round 70 on the Asia Course, which included an eagle, two birdies and two bogeys.
That left him two-over-par for the 54 holes and in a share of 22nd place (a rise of around 100 places over the final two rounds), with the top 37 earning full playing privileges for next year.
He said: “I took a caddie who had caddied on the European Tour and PGA Tour, and he was a massive help. He kept me patient, playing it hole by hole and it all clicked into place.”
The Alps Tour is a developmental professional golf tour for men which is sanctioned by the national golf associations of France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Morocco.
Established in 2001, it is a third level tour and the top five players on the season-long order of merit win playing privileges on the second tier European Challenge Tour.
That will be Nessling’s goal for next year and if he achieves it he will follow in the footsteps of Staplecross-based player Ben Evans, who achieved a top five spot on the Alps Tour in 2013 and is now playing on the full European Tour.
Nessling has been very successful in PGA South Region and Sussex PGU events over recent years, but he will only play in the bigger PGA competitions next year as his focus shifts to the Alps Tour.
The 2018 Alps Tour season will get underway in Egypt in mid-February. Nessling will begin that month with some warm weather practice in the United States.
“It’s a better schedule for me that I can mixed in with other events,” he said. “I just wanted to get used to the travelling as well. A lot of the events are in France, which isn’t too far to go.”
Playing on the Alps Tour inevitably incurs greater expense than the domestic third tier circuit, the PGA EuroPro, but Nessling banked good winnings this year and says he has heard good things about the Alps Tour.
The 28-year-old is sponsored by Hera Indemnity and Trade Paints. Any other organisations interested in backing him can email email@example.com