WAKEFIELD golfer Adrian Ambler has set his sights on teeing off in high-profile PGA European Tour events next year after winning his first regional Order of Merit tournament.
The Low Laithes professional won the De Vere PGA North Region Championship at Herons’ Reach Golf Club in Blackpool - his first triumph in 18 years of trying.
And the 41-year-old is hoping the success - beating Wakefield’s Scott Barber in a dramatic sudden death shoot-out - sets the benchmark for a successful year in which he’s aiming for a place in the PGA Play-Offs in Turkey in December.
Finishing in the top three in the North Order of Merit would be enough to see him on the plane to Turkey - he’s currently fourth after his Blackpool triumph.
And a leading performance at the Antalya Golf Club could see him playing in the European Tour’s blue chip events including the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
“I’m not a million miles away from the leading players at the moment so that’s the aim I have this year,” he said.
“It’s still quite early in the season but it’s possible. I’ve made a good start so it’s a good opportunity to try and get to those end-of-season play-offs in Turkey.”
Ambler, who lives in Thornes, has had to make do with numerous second-place finishes in regional Order of Merit competitions.
But he held his nerve to beat Waterton Park professional Barber, 37, in sudden-death, holing a birdie in the first play-off hole to take the top prize.
Both golfers had finished the 36 holes 11 under par.
Ambler hit 69 on the first day before upping his game and scoring a course-record 64 on day two to tie at the top.
“I’ve known Scott for a while so it didn’t make things easier,” he said.
“I wasn’t playing alongside him on the course and I’m not one to look at the scoreboard.
“I was a bit nervous in the play-off, it’s a nervous finish anyway on that course because it’s a tough finish.”
Victory in Blackpool will give Ambler a big boost for the rest of the season.
But it wasn’t enough to help him progress in The Open qualifying round in Leeds on Monday.
He was one of four Merrie City golfers to travel to Moortown Golf Club looking to shoot their way to within one round of the famous competition, to be held at Royal Lytham and St Annes next month.
Ambler hit a round of 75 but fell three shots short of progressing to the final qualifying round.
Amateur Richard Law, also from Low Laithes, shot a round of 72 but had to settle for a place on the reserve list.
David Mansell and Scott Douglas both hit 78.
It’s been a busy fortnight for Ambler - he was also involved in the Yorkshire PGA Championships at Willow Valley Golf Club on Wednesday.
He’s won the competition five times but a sixth eluded him as Bridlington’s Alex Belt scooped victory.
Ambler is the golf professional at Low Laithes Golf Club in Ossett and offers golf coaching for players of all abilities. Contact him on 07939 11639 for more information.
Ambler would like to thank sponsor DPPublicity.co.uk for their continued support.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.