Malton & Norton’s David Hague beat a field that included almost 30 professionals to lift a title on the Evolve Pro Tour in Spain this week – but he is now sweating over making it into next week’s Spanish amateur championship.
Hague fired a flawless second-round 66 at La Serena, which included six birdies, for a one-shot win after opening with a level-par 72.
However, as of Friday he was third reserve for next week’s event at El Saler, in Valencia.
Should Hague, twice a winner on the Yorkshire Order of Merit series last year, make it into the championship, he will carry with him the confidence gained from his win over 27 professionals and 29 of his amateur counterparts.
“The second round was probably the most stress-free round of golf I have ever played,” he reflected.
“I missed only two fairways and hit every green even though there were 25mph winds, and to do that in that wind was probably the best golf I have played.
“I tried to keep the ball out of the wind really. I hit low ball flights and I was hitting 75 per cent shots – so my nine irons were going 100 yards instead of the normal 140, for instance,
“It is just trying to play clever golf really.”
Clever enough to have earned him not the 2,000 euros first prize – for which he was, of course, ineligible – but a smart Thomas Sabo watch, to which his father and caddie for the week, Andy, took a shine.
Hague has spent some time at La Manga and in Portugal doing warm weather practice, thanks to the support of parents Andy and Sarah, and said: “My dad wants the watch so I will give it to him for doing a good job caddying.
“I am very fortunate to have their support and I am very grateful to them.”
Hague had to overcome the hiccough of a second-hole bogey at La Serena, a setback which he described as “strange”.
“I had played the course about two-and-a-half to three years ago, but it was all a bit hazy really,” he explained, “So I took the wrong club off the tee and ran out of room and went out of bounds.
“It wasn’t a bad shot, it was just a mis-club. I blame it on my dad,” he laughed.
Last year Hague won both the Pannal Rose and Vardon Grip events to place third in the final Yorkshire Order of Merit rankings.
He also qualified for the Brabazon Trophy and reached the third round of the match play stage of the English Amateur Championship at Ganton.
This year he is wary of setting any goals as he feels he became “too fixated” with acquiring world ranking points in 2016.
But he is hopeful of an improved showing in England Golf Order of Merit competitions.
“I think I became too fixated on setting goals last season,” he said. “I am just going to play and see where it gets me this season because I put pressure on myself last year trying to get world ranking points and it did not work out.
“I had a fantastic season last year, but I think if I did have a goal this season it would be to do really well in the England Order of Merit events.
“I am kind of middle of the field in the England ones and sometimes it was difficult last season to compete in them, so hopefully this season I will be competing and getting good results in them.”
What his win at La Serena has confirmed is that he has the capacity to stay calm under pressure.
Within the York Union last year he produced a tour de force, winning its Open, match play, Crossley Trophy and order of merit.
But facing a field in which professionals made up half the contingent – and coming out on top – was a step up in class for a man whose ambition is to be a Tour player.
“I was aware of how I stood because there were leaderboards on the back nine,” he said. “So I knew when I was on the 13th that I was in second place.
“It is a driveable par-4 and they had moved the tee up, but I decided to bottle it and lay up. Although I played the hole really well, I just missed birdie but managed to get a steady par and it settled me down a bit bit and I managed to birdie the next two.
“If I’d gone for it and messed up then you regret it afterwards and it’s possible you will make silly mistakes because you are not in the right place mentally.
“Dad kept me really cool; he did a great job.”
Hague certainly seems in the right place at the moment, and hopes to play in next week’s Spanish amateur championship as well as the Italian version next month at Acaya.