By Steve Wilson
Darren Wright will be looking for a flying start to the 2013 season in the professional ranks as he goes out of Africa.
The Rowlands Castle man had a chastening experience among the paid ranks last year.
He failed to get anywhere close to breaking even on his first full year as a professional.
His performances on the less lucrative Europro and German-based EDP Tour were barely enough to cover his travel expenses.
And he recently revealed he had been working in his father’s property maintenance business to pay off some of his debts.
But Wright now has a renewed sense of purpose as he begins his quest for 2013 progress.
With three successive tournaments in Morocco – starting at this week’s Mogador Open in Essaouira which is sanctioned by the Pro Golf Tour – Wright is in bullish mood.
He said: ‘I can’t wait to get started.
‘Last year was pretty tough for me but I’ve had some good practice and I just want to get out there and compete against the rest of the field.
‘I like the courses out here, the weather is great and I’m feeling positive about my chances.
‘Now I have to go out and show what I can do.’
With a prize fund of 30,000 euros, a decent finish could set things up for the new season if Wright can hit form on the spectacular Gary Player-designed coastal course.
But he is well aware that he needs to eradicate the errors that so often cost him last season.
‘I know my best game is good enough to do well but last season I would have a bad hole and that would really affect things,’ said Wright.
‘Maybe I got to a point of trying a bit too hard and trying to force things.
‘But I’ve been working with a sports psychologist to help with the mental side of the game.
‘And even though I have been working for my dad over the winter to earn some money, I have worked on a few things with my coach and I also feel like my swing has improved.’
Wright played on the Challenge Tour in four events, making two cuts and with a best ﬁnish of 19th in an event in France.
He clearly has the ability to compete with some of the other young golfers trying to make a name for themselves.
And he is also excited about a new TaylorMade driver and three wood in his bag that he believes can make a difference to his game.
He said: ‘I’ve been hitting them well in practice and now I need to take that on the course with me.’
Meanwhile, fellow professional Sam Hutsby continued his progress.
He managed to deliver another solid performance on the Challenge Tour.
The former Lee-on-the-Solent man earned a tie for 14th-place at the Barclays Kenya Open in Nairobi for a pay day of 2,828 euros.
Spaniard Jordi Garcia netted the victory with a 12-under-par total, but Hutsby’s rounds of 68, 70, 70 and 73 saw him finish at three under par – although a disappointing two-over final round saw him slip from tied sixth to 14th.
Even so, it’s an encouraging start which has left him in 24th place on the early rankings, with the top 20 automatically securing cards for the European Tour next season.