The Tartan Pro Tour'sOrder of Merit winner, Neil Fenwick, has hailed the inaugural schedule a "big success", adding that Paul Lawrie allowed many to continue pursuing their golf careers with the creation of the tour.
Fenwick topped the Tartan Pro Tour Order of Merit thanks to victories at Pollok and Rowallan Castle in two of the last three events on the new circuit and says he "can't thank Paul Lawrie enough for getting the opportunity to do so".
"I had nothing to play this year and was looking at alternative careers," Fenwick admitted to UK Club Golfer. "I would go close to saying that Paul [Lawrie] saved livelihoods.
"I think a lot of people would still be playing next year but he certainly gave me a lifeline, there is no doubt about that.
"Unfortunately, I had a long-term sponsor who pulled out in the middle of the year, so I was wondering how I was going to fund EuroPro with nothing to play this year. Lawrie gave me a lifeline, because, off the back of what I've achieved this year, winning these events and getting quite a lot of coverage, it's made myself a lot more marketable to try and help grab somebody to help me next year.
"I've got four starts on the Challenge Tour with the hope of another three if it goes okay. If it wasn't for the creation of the Tartan Pro Tour, I would be rethinking my options as a pro golfer."
The 32-year-old Edinburgh man has experienced a tough year in which his father was hospitalised for 12 weeks as a result of COVID-19 and his home was ravaged by a fire, so his success on the course has provided an escape from daily worries.
"When the Tartan Pro Tour was announced, I made that my primary goal," explained Fenwick. "I was working hard, trying to keep my mind off other things and I was extremely keen to win the OOM as that's what I was focusing on playing in. To achieve it was great and for my dad to be there to celebrate it after all he has been through was even more special. I am really pleased with how the year turned out compared to how it began."
As well as topping the standings, Fenwick was rewarded with a start in the Scottish Open at the beginning of October, as well as some starts on the Challenge Tour in 2021.
"I played well in practice but I got a poor draw with the weather on the first day. It was really, really bad and I was a bit disappointed in myself as I let that get to me. The whole experience proved that I could play at that level but getting there is tough. I took a lot from it but getting to play in a Rolex series event in my home location of East Lothian was amazing."
Going forward, Fenwick hopes that the Tartan Pro Tour is here to stay and can become a major player on the pro golf scene.
"I do think there is a market for it up here. Whether it can take itself to the level the EuroPro is at, I don't know, but I definitely think Paul has got the building blocks there should he want to. It's providing lots of opportunities for guys up here to become better players."
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