Golf: Challenging year for young professional

Thomas Campbell is hoping to flourish on the NGA tour in the United States. Photo supplied.
Thomas Campbell is hoping to flourish on the NGA tour in the United States. Photo supplied.
Former St Clair golfer Thomas Campbell is determined to continue his professional career when he returns to the NGA (National Golf Association) tour in the United States.

While on a brief holiday break in Dunedin, Campbell (27) has been planning his next move after finishing in 18th place in the developmental tours.

After four years of study at Minnesota University, Campbell graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Sport Management and a Masters degree in sport and exercise science.

''I am now exempt for the NGA tour, which is the third-ranked of the tours in the United States,'' Campbell said.

''It is now time for me to step up as my current ranking also allows me to play in qualifying tournaments for PGA and Web.com tournaments.''

Campbell will compete on the NGA tour until September, when he intends to focus on the opportunity to play in PGA events by attending a qualifying school.

However, he is under no illusion as to how tough this will be, as qualifying is very cut-throat and is decided over three stages.

About 5000 hopefuls enter the first stage, with only 25 from each of the 12 events making it through to the second round.

There are six stage two events but again, only 25 will make it forward to the final event.

Only 25 gain a tour card and the competition is fierce as the final stage field includes professionals who are trying to re-qualify after losing their status in 2012.

Campbell is very methodical with his planning and has budgeted $45,000 for travel, accommodation and fees for the coming year.

This does not include a further $15,000 which Campbell requires for such things as food and other living expenses.

To date, Campbell has been self-funding but is now seeking some support to continue his campaign.

He returns to the United States on January 17 and intends to hold a fundraising tournament at St Clair the day before his departure.