After a whirlwind 2018, Sam Locke is on the brink of another year to savour after receiving an invitation to play in the Qatar Masters on the European Tour this week.
But Sam, 19, the Stonehaven amateur who turned professional after winning the Silver Medal at the Open at Carnoustie last year, has his feet firmly on the ground with the knowledge his future could hardly be in safer hands.
His mentor, Paul Lawrie, and his father Andrew, the head teaching pro at the former Open champion’s golf centre, will ensure that.
Following Sam’s remarkable exploits in front of millions of TV viewers when he was the only Scot to make the cut at the Angus venue, Paul later secured his protege several Challenge Tour invitations plus two tournaments on the European Tour – the Portugal Masters and Dunhill Links Championship.
A two-time winner at Doha, Paul has also managed to book Sam’s place in Thursday’s field.
Now Sam is relishing the chance to tee it up with Paul and PLGC stablemate David Law, fresh from his victory in ISPS Handa Vic Open in Australia earlier this month.
Sam said: “I am so thankful for the opportunity to play.
“I’ve been in Morocco for a couple of weeks playing events over there, which was nice – to get back into playing competitively again.
“When I was out there I received the news I’d be playing this week and it was brilliant.
“I had some rusty spells in Morocco but there were a lot of good moments as I played some nice stuff too.
“So I will be focusing on the positives from the trip and moving forward.
“My game was starting to feel better in my practise sessions at home so I will hopefully have a good week.
“I’ve not spoken to Paul a whole lot about it but I’m sure he will help me out – after all, he’s won there twice.
“Obviously, making the cut is a goal for me but I also want to finish as high up the leaderboard as I can.
“I always try to do the the best I can every day and we’ll see where that places me.
“I know my game has improved a lot since Carnoustie last year.
“I’m also learning to score without an A-game, which is what you have to do to be successful in this sport.
“it’s going to be a constant learning process throughout my career.
“I can’t wait to get out there and compete. It’s a great chance for me to go and kick-start my season with a good result.”