Jigger's in the swing for a bumper year

JONATHAN Thomson is rested and ready for the biggest year of his golfing career, admitting: “It's a great opportunity and it could be a life-  changing opportunity.”

2018 will take the 21-year-old from Rotherham into the thick of the European Tour just a couple of months since getting his hands on a prized qualification card through the demanding Q School.

Jigger, as he is known, has enjoyed some time off over the festive period after a year that exceeded all his expectations.

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His competitive edge remains as sharp as ever, as it will need to be against Europe's elite. But the 6ft 9in giant, who turned professional in 2016, is also determined to enjoy the experience and it's one he's ready for as he continues training ahead of a hoped-for start in the forthcoming Dubai Desert Classic.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “I'm feeling good. I've rested well and I'm champing at the bit to get going.

“It's a boyhood dream and it's just an exciting time in general to play on the European Tour. It's also a point I've worked very hard to get to and although I'm going to continue to work, at the same time I want to enjoy it and not get down in the dumps with it all.

“There will be nerves, 100 per cent there will be, but it's how you deal with them. It's a great opportunity and it could be a life-changing

opportunity as well.

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“If someone had nudged me 12 months ago and said I'd get this far in the space of a year then I wouldn't have believed it.

“A lot of people asked me at the beginning of last year whether I was ready to play on the European Tour. I told them I wasn't but was

definitely ready for the Challenge Tour.

“The aim at the start of 2017 was to get a Challenge Tour card so to do what I have is incredible really, it has all happened so fast.”

Having got this far, Jonathan isn't about to change the way he goes about his business.

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“Absolutely not,” he says. “It's about being the same person, being who you are and enjoying the ride.”

Jonathan intends speaking to Danny Willett, his Rotherham Golf Club colleague, who will this year try to rediscover the form that took him all the way to a US Masters title in 2016.

He has experience of the Majors and it's a path Jigger wants to tread as well.

“I would love to play in a couple of the big events,” he adds. “I won't get in them on merit but I'd love to play Dubai, it's a big event

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with some big names. To get a couple of invites into the bigger tournaments would be spectacular.

“I can pre-qualify for The Open and US Open but I would still have to play well to get in those. Obviously playing in a Major on your first year on Tour would be pretty impressive.”