Exclusive – Interview with first time Open qualifier, Steve Surry


 

Picture the scenario. You’re on the 18th green of your home club, playing on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. You picture yourself on the 72nd hole in the Open Championship, imagining that the tricky four foot putt in front of you is to win the claret jug. Countless amateurs will profess to doing just that, but for first time Open qualifier, Steve Surry, dreams may become a reality.

Steve, a professional golfer from Wiltshire, qualified for the Open in a nail-biting qualification event, held at Western Gailes, Ayrshire last week. Requiring a finish in the top four of a competitive 96 man field, Steve placed second, posting a four under par total score. He also shot the lowest round of the week, a 66, to gain qualification on the final day. Steve, 27, said: “I knew I was coming in with a good score, but as I was out early on the second day, it was just a case of waiting and watching the leaderboard for the rest of the day. Once I knew I had made it, it still seemed unreal for quite a while!”

It was not until the age of thirteen that Steve took up golf. Joining Wiltshire club, Cumberwell Park a year later, Steve quickly made headway in the sport, making the England Boys’ team at sixteen. Proud mother and loyal supporter, Mary Surry, said: “His lowest handicap was +4, and after an operation to remove an ingrowing hair at the base of his spine, Steve decided to go professional.”

“I am a laid-back kind of person, so am hoping I can retain my usual horizontal approach next week!”

Steve has progressed through the professional tours, winning the 2008 Jamega Order of Merit, a professional tour based in Wiltshire. He currently plays on the EuroPro tour and is enjoying great success, with one victory and three top ten finishes in four events. He heads the Order of Merit, and will take great form into the Open at Turnberry next week.

The drama and tension of the Open Championship will undoubtedly test Steve to the maximum, although he will not be totally thrown by the challenging Turnberry course. He said: “I have played Turnberry once before, about 10 years ago, so at least I have seen the course and facilities. I think the main difficulties for me will be how I adjust to playing in such a huge competition. I am a laid-back kind of person, so am hoping I can retain my usual horizontal approach next week!”

The Open will begin on Thursday, with Steve hoping for a big-name playing partner. Although Tiger Woods is Steve’s obvious choice, his other pick lies a little closer to home. “I’d like to play with David Howell, as he was the local golfing hero when I took up the sport and is a great guy too. The reality is that I will be paired with other “unknowns”, as the pairings on the first two days are set up for the TV viewers, with the big boys being paired together.” Whatever Steve’s fate, Howell, the Swindon born Ryder Cup player, will be teeing it up with the newly qualified pro in a practice round before the first round gets underway.

So what are Steve’s goals? “I’d like to make the cut, and if that happens, to see if I can improve my position over the final two days. Whatever happens, I am determined to enjoy the experience.”

Steve’s form and laid back attitude will stand him in good stead, and will certainly be one to watch at Turnberry this week. If he makes the cut, he could even be an outside shot to be in contention come Sunday. Remember Chris Wood?

-Thanks to Steve and Mary Surry for taking the time to respond to my questions at this busy time. I wish Steve the best and hope he can achieve his goals, and ultimately, enjoy the experience.

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