Peebles golf ace Darren Howie dreams of turning pro after narrowly missing out on amateur team glory with Scotland
Peebles golf ace Darren Howie, 22, has been describing the dramatic moment when he and his Scotland team-mates were denied victory in the R and A Home Internationals by a single missed putt.
Unlike last weekend’s one sided Ryder Cup contest which saw a European side outclassed by the USA and thumped 19-9, Ireland only pipped Scotland to the Raymond Trophy by half a point in a dramatic conclusion to the recent round-robin tournament for top amateurs at Hankley Common.
"It was a right sore one not winning,” Darren – younger brother of Challenge Tour professional golfer Craig Howie - told the Southern Reporter.
"The last putt hit from 12 feet on the 18th green – for a birdie – was by an Englishman (Callan Barrow) in their final match against Ireland.
“If he had holed it Scotland would have won and he missed it so Ireland won.
"All of us in the Scotland team had been preparing for the closing presentation so had our shirts and ties on. But seeing that match was going down the last, we all ran to the 18th green.
"We were all there and the whole Irish team was there as well.”
The four home nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales couldn’t have scripted a better finish to the 92nd playing of the event.A 7½-7½ draw after the Irish staged a tremendous comeback from a 4-1 loss in the morning foursomes to win the singles 6½-3½ over a strong English team gave them the trophy for the first time in four years.Ireland finished with two and a half points to top the table, Scotland was second with two, England had one and a half, while Wales finished bottom with no points.Putting his disappointment in that team event behind him, Darren will now begin his bid to make his mark on the professional ranks by playing at Europro Tour School this week at Longhirst Hall Golf Club in Northumberland. He will be attempting to finish high enough to reach final qualifying at Stoke by Nayland Resort from October 14 to 16.
"Turning pro is my ambition,” he added. “If I make it through there and get a category for next year I will turn professional after that.
"If I get onto the Europro Tour next year, the competitions are played all across Britain but mainly in England.
"I think there are roughly 18 or 19 events and I think 11 or 12 of them are in England, with a couple in Ireland, a couple in Scotland and a couple in Wales.”
Success in the pro ranks would be a dream result for Darren, who first picked up a golf club at the age of four.
"I was always quite good at golf,” the Peebles Golf Club member added. “But I played rugby, football, tennis and badminton growing up, although I was always better at golf.
"It was only when I was about 14 or 15 I started taking it a bit more seriously.”
Proof of how seriously Darren now takes his golf comes with the knowledge that he now plays off a +6 handicap, with 320-yard drives off the tee commonplace if he hits it solidly. He now hopes to get on the road to emulating the achievements of older brother Craig, 27, who won on the Challenge Tour this season.
"Where the game is going, people are hitting it a lot further,” he said.
"I wouldn’t say I’m short but I can definitely get longer and get better that way.
"What Craig is doing is where I want to be as well. He is pretty close to wrapping up a European tour card and if he can do that the goal is obviously becoming a winner on that tour or the PGA Tour.
“That sort of thing will come by if I play good golf and work hard at it.”