BEDALE amateur Dan Brown heads for his first experience of a European Tour event just days after defeating professionals to win the Yorkshire Open.
Brown’s spot in the KLM Dutch Open at the Kennemer Golf & Country Club in Zandvoort was a prize for winning the TGH Dutch Junior Open, at Toxandria GC, in July.
On Thursday he beat a strong field of both professionals and amateurs at Howley Hall GC to win the Yorkshire Open.
Next Thursday he will tee it up against Europe’s elite in a line-up which will include two-time major winner Martin Kaymer, of Germany, former Open champion Darren Clarke, Ryder Cup players Victor Dubuisson and Thomas Bjørn, plus five-time Open champion Tom Watson.
The Yorkshire county player’s ultimate ambition is to play on tour and he is looking to absorb as much from the experience as possible without burdening himself with any sense of expectation.
“Obviously making the cut would be nice, but I’m just going to go out and enjoy it and see what scores I can produce,” he said.
“I want to take it all in and learn as much as possible about what it’s like to play in such events.
“It will give me a good idea, if I do get out on tour, of the things that are to come.”
Brown, along with Yorkshire county team-mate Nick Marsh, of Huddersfield, was in the provisional Walker Cup squad, but neither made the team.
He says the disappointment was offset by knowing that the alternative was to play in the Dutch Open.
“I was always in a win-win situation with the Walker Cup because the KLM was a back-up and I wasn’t really too disheartened,” he said.
“I think I might have been if I wasn’t playing the KLM next week, but secretly I would probably have rather played the KLM to get a taste of what it will be like if I do make it out onto the Tour.”
Brown will have fellow Yorkshire county player Jonathan Thomson, of Lindrick, carrying his bag for him.
Brown and English Men’s Amateur champion Joe Dean, also of Lindrick, had been tied for the lead going into the last round of the Dutch Junior Open.
“Jonathan said if either of us two won he would caddy for us at the KLM,” explained Brown.
“He knows [Lee Westwood Trophy winner] Sam Haywood, who caddies on the tour for Peter Uihlein (an American tour player) so he will have learned a few tricks of the trade from him.
“Jonathan is very calm and very level-headed - and obviously he’s a very good golfer himself - so I think he will help keep me relaxed.”
Brown entered the Yorkshire Open to try to sharpen up his game and ended up winning, three shots ahead of another county team-mate, Dan Wasteney (Bondhay).
He said his game was not as sharp as he wanted it to be in a first-round 72 at Howley Hall although it began to come together over the closing holes that morning.
Read how Brown won his place in the KLM Dutch Open by clicking HERE
In the afternoon he excelled, shooting 65 despite the difficult, breezy conditions.
“ I do like the test of playing when there is a bit of wind blowing because you have to control your ball more,” he said. “It makes you think more rather than just standing up and hitting it. There is a bit more skill involved.”
He flies to Amsterdam on Sunday and hopes to play a full practice round on Monday and nine holes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The draw is yet to be made for Thursday’s and Friday’s pairings, but Brown and Thomson will be staying five minutes’ drive from the course so even an early start in one of the two rounds will not present a problem.
He has decided not to try for his Tour card at qualifying school this year because of the cost and will continue working behind the bar at Bedale through the winter to help fund another season of top-level amateur golf.
Hopefully all the Bedale members who follow his progress with such pride will be able to raise a glass in his absence from the clubhouse next week and offer the Dutch salutation ‘proost’ to a successful first appearance on the European Tour.