Shoreham golfer Tom Hayward is targeting a place on the European Tour following his maiden professional tournament win.
Hayward produced an unflinching display to come out on top in the Jamega Pro Golf Tour at Leatherhead last week.
The 28-year-old, who became a father for the first time four months ago, only started playing six years ago and is linked to Wildwood and Cottesmore golf clubs.
Following his triumph, Hayward is now looking for more success with a view at joining the sport’s elite.
He said: “It was great to score my first win and I’ve followed that up with a good performance in my next competition at Wychwood.
“To gain a spot on the top tour in golf, you have to be consistent and that’s something I want to be in the future.
“Hopefully this victory will provide me with that springboard I need to have even more success now. It’s tough at times but I want to keep kicking on and perform better and better.”
A nine-under-par total of 133 left Hayward two shots clear of Steve Surry and was reward for a rock-solid performance that saw him drop just two shots over the two days.
Hayward, who is now in his third professional year on the tour, said: “It’s a bit of a monkey off my back. With a young family, it means a lot. I’ve won a lot of pro-ams but this is my first proper win in a two-day event.”
Hayward started the second round in a three-way tie for the lead with Henry Smart and Ryan Hinsley, and after birdies on 11, 13 and 15 led Hinsley by a shot on the 17th tee.
He added: “It felt a little bit like match-play. We were jostling for position. I have been in the lead in the past but haven’t managed to get over the line, so it was nice to learn from those mistakes and build on that experience.”
Hinsley’s challenge faded with two bogeys over the closing holes, leaving Somerset’s Surry to pinch the runners-up spot after a phenomenal back nine of 28 that included six birdies.
Hayward progressed to the second stage of Q School for the European Tour last year, but admitted to struggling in 2016 before the birth of Rupert to partner Lily.
“When I’m not playing well, it’s nice to have my family there to take my mind off things. Golfers have a tendency to be gloomy after bad results. I didn’t struggle with motivation before but this makes it even easier to graft.”
His late introduction to the game was virtue of a school sports scholarship in Brighton that saw him devoted to football, cricket and particularly rugby union. As a budding fly-half he continued with rugby at Exeter University before golf became a focus after graduation.
He said: “I played a couple of events on the Jamega Tour as an amateur as it was renowned for developing young players.”
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