A tournament invite from the European Tour to play in the British Masters last week presented Amateur Champion Scott Gregory with another opportunity to test himself against the world’s best golfers.
The 21-year-old’s first experience of the professional game came in The 145th Open at Royal Troon, where he briefly led the Championship during the first round, and was followed by playing in the Bridgestone Challenge at Heythrop Park on the Challenge Tour, finishing in a credible 42nd position.
But while Gregory was delighted to accept the offer to play at The Grove this week, he is also happy to bide his time before joining the professional ranks permanently.
“I don’t feel I’m ready yet. For me to turn pro, I want to do it when I’m ready to compete”, said Gregory in an interview with Sky Sports News.
“Obviously playing in events like the British Masters gives me an idea. I’m just learning and getting better each day.”
Demonstrating such patience will bring reward and life-changing opportunities for Gregory in 2017; next year, he will play in the Masters Tournament at Augusta and US Open at Erin Hills after earning a traditional invitation and an exemption respectively as a result of his victory in The Amateur Championship. The Corhampton golfer will also face the challenge of defending the title when The Amateur visits Royal St George’s and Prince’s in June.
But perhaps at the forefront of the Corthampton youngster’s mind is selection for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that will defend the trophy against the United States at Los Angeles Country Club next year.
Achieving such an ambition is where Gregory sees real value in remaining an amateur for at least one more season.
“One of the events I’d love to play in is the Walker Cup, so I’m hoping to wait it out and play a nice season next year”, said Gregory. “It’s going to be a big year. I understand that I have to work hard and keep getting better.”
Selection for the Walker Cup has become a very realistic target and the Englishman may play a crucial role if chosen by GB&I captain Craig Watson for the ten-strong team.
Gregory made an instant impression on his debut appearance for GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Prince’s earlier this season, collecting three points out of a possible four and finishing as the team’s top scorer as the encounter finished tied at 12½-12½.
He was also a member of the three-man England side, alongside Jamie Bower and Alfie Plant, which won the silver medal in the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in Mexico last month, contributing three crucial scores to their overall total.
“My objective now is just to keep winning as much as I can while I’m still an amateur and make the move professionally when I feel like it’s the right time.”
If Gregory can maintain similar form going into next season, there is a strong chance of realising his ambitions in the amateur game and plenty of time to decide when the time is right to join the professional ranks.