Bendigo golfer sets sights on Asian Tour
HE'S secured his 'job' for another year, now Bendigo golfer Andrew Martin wants to see exactly where his career path could lead in the next 12 months.
Martin put a positive finish on a trying year by regaining his PGA Tour of Australasia card at tour school last week.
By tying for third place, Martin all-but guaranteed himself a start in Australia's biggest tournaments next year.
But he wants to take the next step - and that means qualifying school for the Asian Tour.
With some events co-sanctioned by the rich European circuit, a good result in the right tournament could propel the 2004 Australian Amateur champion's career skyward.
First, though, he has to walk the tightrope of first-stage qualifying in Thailand in late January.
"I think a lot of guys are just going to the Asian Tour because the schedule's much better (than the OneAsia Tour)," Martin said.
"They're not big events but there are seven events co-sanctioned with the European Tour, so it's a bit of a pathway.
"You look at the Aussie guys that have been there the last few years, like Kieran Pratt and Scott Hend, they've all played a fair bit on the European Tour and that's just from playing well on the Asian Tour.
"That's my goal is to get over there."
Martin will take plenty of confidence to Thailand after his Australasian tour school success.
Although he'd prefer not to go through the "daunting" qualification play-off, it did have its benefits.
Chiefly, it allowed him to continue to build on some late season form with his old putter.
Struggling on the greens cost Martin this year, as he coughed up crucial shots and ended up missing five tournament cuts by two strokes or less.
But since dusting off the putter that he started his professional career with he's already noticed the difference.
"I guess, personally, and I guess golf-wise it wasn't a great year," said Martin, whose father passed away in June.
"The golf side of it I think I probably played better, my swing felt better than it ever has.
"It's just been the putter that's been killing me, so that was a downside to it.
"Going back to my old putter, I guess I've got a bit more confidence with it.
"For how well I've been hitting it, I'm actually started seeing a bit more result with a bit more confidence on the green.
"I can never say it's been a good year, because I had to go back to tour school, but I don't actually think it's been that bad.
"I've been saying to my mates I just can't wait to play my next game of golf because I know I've been playing well."