Dougherty delighted with upturn in form
March 14, 2012 09:14:57 UK
Forgotten man Nick Dougherty is hoping he has taken the first step back to regaining his place among the European Tour's best players after making an encouraging debut on the Challenge Tour.
Dougherty's story is one of the saddest in golf as he went from beating two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen at the 2009 BMW Championship to losing his European Tour card at the end of last season.
The 29-year-old made just one cut in 32 events in 2011 as his form went from bad to worse but the signs are promising for the future, judging by his performance in the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic at the weekend.
Dougherty finished in a tie for fourth place, just two shots behind winner Philip Archer, and revealed that he is back to enjoying his golf again.
It's baby steps. I've played poorly for a couple of years and I'm working hard at it and I feel like I'm making some really good progress in my mind now so it's definitely a step in the right direction.Nick Dougherty
Dougherty told European tour.com: "It's been a great experience. The standard on the Challenge Tour is superb. It was not easy this week but there were some really good scores.
"All of these guys playing this kind of golf could easily play on The European Tour. The standard is tough and the competition is high so it's really tested me and I really enjoyed it.
"It reminds me of when I was younger where you just warm up beforehand, whereas on The European Tour there's a perfect pyramid of balls to hit off perfect turf to loads of greens, so it almost becomes a practice session, whereas here it's a proper warm up."
After shooting rounds of 71, 70, 68 and 73 in tricky windy conditions in Colombia, Dougherty will continue rebuilding his career by appearing at the Barclays Kenya Open in a fortnight's time.
The three-time Tour winner is relishing his experience on the Challenge Tour and says his confidence is returning all the time.
Dougherty added: "It's baby steps. I've played poorly for a couple of years and I'm working hard at it and I feel like I'm making some really good progress in my mind now so it's definitely a step in the right direction."
Matteo Manaserro can be backed at 21.00 to win the Open de Andalucia, while Robert Rock can be backed at 21.00.
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