Birmingham golfer Sam Walker has returned to the coach who first taught him to play as an eight-year-old in a bid to win his place back on the European Tour.
Walker has once again linked up with Maxstoke Park professional Neil McEwan after losing his European Tour card at the end of last season and the 31-year-old believes the move can help him rediscover the consistency required to fulfil his undoubted talent.
Walker has proven on several occasions that he can more than compete on the European Tour. He finished fourth at the British Masters at The Belfry in 2007 and was fourth at last year’s SAS Masters.
However, a back injury severely disrupted his season last year but now, after back surgery, he is back and looking to regain his European Tour card through the Challenge Tour.
“I have known Neil for nearly 24 years and first worked with him when I was eight, so he knows me inside out,” Walker said.
“I have used several other coaches but I always go back to Neil and I am hoping he will be the key to more consistent play from myself and a return to the full European Tour.
“I know I am good enough to get further on the Tour, some of my results prove that, and I am hoping in the few European Tour events I play this year I can get some confidence and have a good go to get my card back through the Challenge Tour.”
Walker, who lives in Sutton Coldfield, finished tied in tenth in his first Challenge Tour event last week, the Kenya Open, after a superb final round of 66.
Walker started with a disappointing 75 at the Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, but two rounds of 71 steadied the ship and he admits he could have pulled himself closer to the eventual winner, Gary Boyd, had he taken his chances.
“The first couple of days were scrappy but I was pleased with how I played on Saturday, although I didn’t hole any putts,” Walker said.
“On Sunday I hit the ball really well and holed a few putts, and I could have gotten even closer. I had a few chances to get into the top five, where the real money is.
“I am going to play the next two European Tour events now in Spain and Italy, and then go back to the Challenge Tour after that. Then I have to try and get some money on the board because I won’t have as many tournaments to play this year.
“However, that should give me more time to work with Neil and get some good practise in.”
Kenya isn’t a golfing venue that immediately springs to mind but Walker said the African nation does have some good golf courses.
“Not many believe they have golf courses in Kenya but I have been there a few times now and they are in good condition,” he said. “It is a good venue.”
The European Tour moves to Jeju Island in South Korea this week for the Ballantine’s Championship.