Borders golfer David Drysdale hoping home advantage works in his favour at Asian Tour UK double-header
The Cockburnspath 48-year-old is a newcomer to the Asian competition, having qualified in January after accepting his 21-year DP World Tour career was as good as over.
He’s one of very few players taking part to have competed in tournaments on the DP World Tour in recent years at both Close House and Fairmont St Andrews – in the British Masters in 2017 and 2020 at the former and 2020’s Scottish championship and 2021 and 2022’s Hero Opens at the latter – and he’s hoping that experience will work to his advantage.
“It’s cool. I never thought when I went to qualifying school in January that I'd end up playing two events close to home, and funnily enough I live right in the middle, 90 minutes from Close House and 90 minutes from Fairmont St Andrews, so it’s a little bit too far to travel from home but I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait,” said Edinburgh-born Drysdale, ranked 901st in the world.
“It’s an absolute bonus for me getting a card at the Asian Tour qualifying school and having two events virtually on my doorstep.”
“I played the British Masters first in 2017 and then again as one of the first events back in the UK after Covid in July 2020. It's a nice golf course with a lot of undulation change.”
Drysdale returned to Fairmont St Andrews on a scouting trip this summer to reacquaint himself with its layout, revealing: “I played it on a pretty terrible day, a Tuesday a few weeks ago. It was like 12C, raining and a two-and-a-half club wind.
“You can call it a links course but it’s on the cliffs, ten minutes east of St Andrews on the coastline. There are only a couple of holes that are actually really on the coast but it has an inland feel.
“Turf-wise, it’s not like links sandy turf. It’s pretty wide off the tee, with big greens, and gets pretty windy.
“It’s very exposed. At the back of the 16th hole, two yards over the 16th green, there’s a wall and probably a 200ft drop down into the sea.”
Drysdale scored a last-round 67 to secure his Asian Tour card by one shot in qualifying and went on to tie for ninth place in the World City Championship at Hong Kong Golf Club in March.
He’s got his wife of 19 years and manager Victoria back as caddie this week after a foot issue kept her out of the Mandiri Indonesia Open at the start of August, an event that saw him tie for 40th place.
“She’s actually had plantar fasciitis in the right foot, so she had an injection a few weeks ago, cortisone, and seemingly that takes that away,” explained Drysdale.
“She’s feeling an awful lot better. She decided to miss Indonesia just to give herself some more rest, a couple more weeks.”
Drysdale is hoping to get back to winning ways on home turf after notching up two Challenge Tour victories, in 2004 and 2006, but not managing a single success in 575 events on the DP World Tour, though he finished second four times, going closest at the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, losing a sudden-death play-off to Spain’s Jorge Campillo and pocketing €172,437 in prize money.
“There are a lot of good players out here on the Asian Tour,” he added. “There are a lot of guys that have played on the European Tour in the past, so they’ve got a lot of experience of doing that as well, but I guess I have a little bit of home advantage.”
Drysdale will be going up against the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter Reed and Graeme McDowell at this week’s $2m event south of the border and Sergio Garcia at its $1.5m follow-up in Fife.