Scotland's Locke says first pro win was 'monkey off back'

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Sam Locke was top amateur at the 2018 Open at Carnoustie

Sam Locke hopes his first tournament victory since turning pro has got “the monkey off my back” as the 21-year-old Scot battles to live up to the promise of his 2018 Open silver medal.

He has made a whirlwind start to his second season as a professional, albeit in the lower reaches of the pro game.

Having tied second in last week’s Penina Classic in the Portugal Pro Tour, he won this week’s Palmares Open.

“I knew it would come in the end, I just had to be patient,” he said.

“I think to win at any level you have got to learn how to win. It is not easy, so it is really important to have done that and hopefully now I can keep working hard and push on and strive for more.”

Winning by four strokes from England’s Ryan Evans on Portugal’s local tour is a long way from the blaze of publicity that surrounded Locke when finishing top amateur at the Open Championship at Carnoustie and then on entering the paid ranks.

He won a first-stage event in last season’s European Tour Qualifying School, but on last season’s third-tier PGA EuroPro Tour, he failed to make the season-ending Tour Championship in Spain.

But Locke is happy to shoulder the burden of expectation that came with his Open success.

“Winning the silver medal, that is going to happen,” he told BBC Scotland. “People are going to think ‘well, this guy has done this, so he is going to go on and do this that and the other’, which I feel I can still do.

“You know what people expect. But, at the end of the day, I know where I want to get to and, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.

“It is now down to me to keep working and learning and pushing on and I believe it will come. It is just a matter of time. I am still young, sometimes I forget that and I think I should be doing a bit better, but I have been playing quite nice stuff and thankfully now I have got the win.”

Locke hopes to make a similar impact when he heads later this month to compete on the Mena Tour, covering the Middle East and North Africa, as he aims for promotion to Europe’s second tier.

“You are striving to be the best player in the world,” he added. “There is no reason why that can’t happen, but just now I am just focusing on what is in front of me, the next few tournaments.

“I definitely want to at least have a Challenge Tour card by the end of this year, so that is my goal. Thankfully, I have got the win at the start, which is good for my confidence.”



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