Henry Confident of Success Thanks to Funding
Scott Henry, one of four players to benefit from Scottish Golf Support Limited funding in 2012, believes the financial help has immediately taken him into the winners’ enclosure this season.
The 25-year-old now hopes the cash boost acts as a further catalyst to propel him onto the European Tour next year.
Cardross professional Henry, together with Glasgow’s Kylie Walker, Callum Macaulay from Tulliallan and Pertshire’s Gavin Dear, are already benefitting from around £23,000 in tailored support this year, including access to some of the best coaching and sports science available.
Former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart and Pete Cowen, a coach to global tour stars, are also on hand to offer their guidance as part of the annual government-funded programme for up-and-coming young pros.
Henry graduated from the Alps Tour last season, where he claimed a maiden professional win in Austria, and is now looking forward to a first full season on the second-tier Challenge Tour circuit.
He does so on the back of another victory, having beaten a strong field to win the Optical Express 36-holer at Spey Valley in Aviemore last week.
After an impressive amateur career, which featured four notable title triumphs, the young Scot believes he can now fulfil his potential in 2012 thanks to the financial backing.
“I felt I had missed the boat in terms of the funding,” admitted Henry, a two-time Scottish Boys champion, Scottish Boys Stroke Play winner and Men’s Stroke Play champion. “But I’ve never lost my hunger and drive to get through it.
“Last year was a struggle financially to go from one tournament to the next on the Alps Tour. I had to keep winning money. I had some really good friends and family from home helping me as well – that kept me going and made me able to keep playing.
“This year my preparation has been perfect, because I’ve been given the support. I’ve been so relieved to get it. I was in Spain for two weeks over the winter and two weeks in America, that really helped.
“I definitely think the funding has aided me already. I think the win in Aviemore came because I had a lot of time to prepare coming into this part of the season.
“I had three weeks at home from the start of April after coming back from Kenya (on the Challenge Tour), where my game was sharp but not quite there yet. I was at home training, going to the gym early and doing all the things which I think are going to make me better. Now I feel so ready and I think my game is at a good level.”
Henry is in France competing at the Allianz Brittany Open from tomorrow, as the Challenge Tour springs back into life. The top 20 on the Challenge Tour rankings progress to the European Tour circuit the following year and Henry’s goals are clear.
Henry, 48th in the rankings after playing in two events, added: “Ideally, you would like to finish first but if I finish in the top 15 I will be happy. I always, though, want to try to be No 1.
“Given the right support, the belief now is stronger than ever. All I play for is to win tournaments. If you go in with that goal, then things are achievable. My goal is to get on the European Tour.”
Looking back to his amateur career, he said: “I won quite a few tournaments in my amateur days and I was actually talking to my Dad saying it doesn’t seem that long ago, but it is actually a long time. Time flies when you’re trying to grind away and get better.”
Meanwhile, Walker hopes to also further progress on the Ladies European Tour circuit this year having benefited from the funding last year.
Walker finished 43rd in the rankings in 2011 after three top-10 finishes and illustrated her potential with a share of 10th place at the Aberdeen Ladies Open over the weekend, won by her compatriot Carly Booth.
The 25-year-old, competing in Turkey this week, said: “The money we receive is fantastic in terms of paying for flights and accommodation. It helps you relax on the golf course knowing you have it.
“Even though I've progressed, it is still great to have the support this year. It is really beneficial.”
Henry is among eight Scots in the field in France staring tomorrow, joining Dear, Michael Stewart, Wallace Booth, Duncan Stewart, David Law, Jack Doherty and Elliot Saltman.
Macaulay, meanwhile, is playing in the co-sanctioned Madeira Islands Open along with the likes of former winner Alastair Forsyth, Craig Lee, Steven O’Hara, Lloyd Saltman, Jamie McLeary and Andrew McArthur.