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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Paisley wins his place on the European tour

FROM Stocksfield Golf Club to a regular place alongside the very best golfing stars on the planet.

Chris Paisley
In the money: Chris Paisley from Mickley is heading for the European tour Photo D4412126

It sounds like a script for a golfing equivalent of the Hollywood blockbuster Goal!, which saw the fictional character Sanitago Munez battle his way from obscurity in his native Mexico to international football stardom – via Newcastle United.

But the storyline is reality for Mickley Square lad Chris Paisley (26) who has realised his childhood dream of becoming a golfer on the European Tour.

A fantastic season on the Challenge Tour saw him end up 12th in the rankings and earn a place along golfing greats such as Ryder Cup heroes Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood for the upcoming year.

Needing to finish in the top 20 on the tour, the former Walker Cup player’s position was significantly boosted by victory in the English Challenge at Stoke by Nayland, in Suffolk, back in August.

He said: “I have worked hard towards getting my tour card for a long time and to achieve it feels fantastic.

“It is mad to think I will be playing against the Rory McIlroys and Lee Westwoods and all those guys. It is every lad’s dream but very few make it, so it feels special.

“I suppose getting the tour card is the easy bit because now I have to maintain it against some of the best players in the world.

“I think my game is up for the challenge and, if I keep doing what I’ve done before, then hopefully it will be tough but exciting times ahead.”

It has been a whirlwind couple of years for Paisley who only turned professional in August 2010.

On the Challenge Tour for the past two years, 2011 saw him ranked 68th over 10 events, a third place the highlight.

But it all clicked into place this year, finishing just out of the top 10 overall with some solid displays in 20 events.

Although the victory in August was his only one over the course of the year, Paisley finished in the top 10 on four further occasions to show he was up to the challenge.

He said: “This year has been incredible and I had a big win in the English Challenge which gave me a big boost.

“From that point I missed no cuts and I have had steady tournaments all the year to slowly build up my money.

“I have been consistent and that is what you look for, and that is what all the top players do to put decent scores together.”

Paisley started out as a junior at Stocksfield, and he moved all the way through the ranks at the Tyne Valley club.

He was recently appointed as attached tour professional at Close House Golf Resort, in Heddon-on-the-Wall, a position shared alongside former world number one Lee Westwood.

Despite the fantastic achievement of making the European tour, the golfing star is staying grounded and he paid tribute to all the people who have helped him succeed.

He said: “Coming through the junior systems at Stocksfield, there was a lot of good players there and the club did a lot for the younger golfers.

“I was lucky to be around at the same time as these good young players and it was a great help in one of the most important years in developing my golf.

“I must also thank my parents Eddie and Joan, brothers Andrew and Richard, girlfriend Keri Drish, and my coach of 12 years Andrew Nicholson because I couldn’t have done it without their brilliant support.”

The European Tour will start for Paisley with a trip to South Africa in December.

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