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GOLF: Pepperell out to hit jackpot
Eddie Pepperell will be looking to finish an excellent rookie season on golf’s European Tour with a flourish at the star-studded Turkish Airlines Open this week.
It is a bonus for the Abingdon golfer to be included in the small 78-man field for the penultimate event of the season.
Consistent results have put him 75th in the European Tour rankings, earning a place alongside the likes of Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood in Antalya when the tournament begins on Thursday.
There is even a slim chance Pepperell could earn enough to qualify for the season’s climax in Dubai next week, although he would probably need a top-five finish to make the money-spinning top 60.
But regardless of what happens this week, the Frilford Heath member, still only 22, is delighted with the way he has stepped up to the elite circuit.
“It’s been a good rookie year, a good start on the Tour,” he said.
“If someone a year ago would have offered me the season I’ve had, I would have taken it. Although having said that, maybe I wouldn’t, because the uncertainty is what makes it great.
“I don’t set any goals, but I believed in myself that I could do well.
“I still feel there are a couple of areas which need to be tightened up.
“Next season, I will have a lot more confidence. I have had a year out there and I will be a little more comfortable.”
Pepperell has chalked up nine finishes in the top 30 this season, two of which were in the top ten.
He also made his major championship debut in June by qualifying for the US Open, but playing at Merion was not the highlight.
Instead it was a superb display at the BMW Championship in May. He finished joint sixth, but was in the mix for the title before hitting a drive out of bounds at the 15th.
Despite the setback, prize- money of more than £120,000 virtually confirmed his place on the European Tour for 2014 with half the season still remaining.
“Contending for a win in my first year on tour was definitely the stand-out for me,” Pepperell said “It opened a lot of doors and I played some of the best golf I’ve ever played.”
Even if he does not reach the World Tour Championship in Dubai there will be little time to reflect.
The new campaign begins with the South African Open Championship on November 21, with Pepperell already confirmed in the field.
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