Published: 06:00, 10 November 2020
Matt Ford produced another excellent performance to finish third in the latest Challenge Tour event this week.
The 42-year-old from Bearsted finished seven-under par at the Andalucia Challenge de Espana in Spain, earning 13,000 euros in prize money in the process.
"I didn't play great on the first two days," said Ford, who started with two level-par rounds.
"I haven't played much for three or four weeks, I needed a rest anyway and the bad weather meant I couldn't practice too much.
"So it was difficult to get up to speed straight away but on the last two days I hit the ball better and made some good progress.
"I would have taken third place at the beginning of the week, although I got into a good position with four or five holes left. However, the last few holes here are very tough and you don't have to do too much wrong to drop a shot or two."
The victory takes Ford up to third in the Tour rankings but the potential of earning his full card on the European Tour is not available this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It means there is less pressure in terms of finishing as high up the rankings as possible, and it means next week's Grand Final in Mallorca is where the season's biggest bucks can be earned.
"Hopefully I'm saving myself for the Grand Final," said Ford, who has one more tournament to play before then. "That's the most important event because of the prize money - there's fewer people involved and greater prize money.
"The ranking scenario is quite strange and we can't really change our category this year but that was all decided a long time ago.
"The top five will get some opportunities on the European Tour but it's not as good as it would have been in any other year.
"The pressure of having to finish as high as possible for the card is not there but I'm still pushing to get as high as I can and earn as much prize money as possible for my family."
Despite the different pressures, the top players on the Challenge Tour are still taking part so Ford is having to deliver on a consistent basis to compete at the right end of the leaderboard.
"We're playing with reduced fields of 96 because of the restrictions that are in place," he said.
"But the top guys are still there so it's the same standard as it's always been.
"I've been playing nicely and have got that bit of confidence in my game. The putter was half-decent this week and my iron play was good."
Ford will be in familiar surroundings when the Andalucia Challenge de Cadiz gets under way on Wednesday - as it's being held at the same course.
"It's a strange course as it's very soft underfoot," explained Ford. "The weather has been decent during the day but it has rained most evenings so there's even been backspin on the driver.
"It's playing relatively long so you could say it doesn't really suit my game but there's a lot of tight holes so you need accuracy as much as length.
"There's enough to give everybody a bit of hope this week, and I'd imagine the scoring will come down with everyone more familiar with the course."