Kenya do it? Golfer Dave Coupland to begin Challenge Tour in Nairobi

Dave Coupland.
Dave Coupland.

Dave Coupland admits he will have to be on his ‘A game’ when he begins life on the European Challenge Tour tomorrow.

The Boston Golf Club member will be one of the 138 competitors teeing off for the season’s curtain opener at the Barclays Kenya Open, at Nairobi’s Karen Country Club tomorrow.

“It’s a step up but I’m playing well at the moment,” said Coupland, who has been promoted from the Euro-Pro Tour.

“I’m really looking forward to starting the season.

“I’ve had experience of this tour before as an amateur and in another event last year.

“I’ll be up against ex-European Tour players, so I’ll have to be on my A game.”

Among the English contingent will be former European Tour names Nick Dougherty and Oliver Wilson, the latter having Ryder Cup experience.

Coupland qualified for the Challenge Tour after finishing fourth in the Euro-Pro Tour’s Order of Merit last season, a year which saw him win the Mar Hall Scottish Classic.

Qualification sees him eligible to compete in 10 rounds in the tour’s second tier competition, including this week’s event in Africa.

Strong placings could see him invited to compete in more events.

At present, Coupland’s priority is establishing himself on the tour, although he’s not afraid to think big.

The 27-year-old told The Standard: “If I can finish in the top 70 in the Order of Merit then I can keep my card for next year. That’s my main aim.

“If I hit a few purple patches and finish in the top 15 then then I can qualify for the European Tour.

“You never know what can happen, but my top priority is finishing in the top 70.”

Coupland - who qualified for The Open in Carnoustie as an amateur in 2007 - has been acclimatising in Kenya since Sunday.

“I’ll be playing at higher altitude, so I’ll have to get used to the ball travelling further,” Coupland added.