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Reflections on the 2020 Season

The curtain came down on Garrick’s 2020 season with three weeks in South Africa playing in Johannesburg, Leopard Creek and Sun City. It was not quite the finish he was looking for with only one cut made and a 47th place in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek. However, it was further experience gained playing on the European Tour.

Reflecting on the season Garrick was very excited at the outset. Back in November 2019, he successfully gained his European Tour card at qualifying school for the 2020 season. Five years as a pro and he had finally done it! He felt confident about the year ahead and what he had been working on with his coaches John Harrison (swing & short game coach), Nick Grantham (strength & conditioning), Darren Wigg (physiotherapist) and Andy Paisley (putting coach).

The first event of his 2020 season started in Leopard Creek GC in South Africa, one of his favourite places to go and play. He successfully finished 11th and it was a great start to the year. A series of missed cuts followed and then in March, Covid-19, lockdown and bubble became the key words. The 2020 schedule stopped for over three months.

The light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of the UK Swing, starting at Close House GC. It was amazing for Garrick to tee it up in a local event on the highest stage. The final day was not his best but after four months off he would have taken it.

The European Tour bubble is an excellent model for safety but it has been a strange existence for many and Garrick was no different. He commented:

“That's why I have had my wife, my dad or one of my mates carrying my bag so we can have a bit of banter and a laugh. It has been very noticeable that quite a lot of the players are doing this now because things are socially different on tour and you don't get the opportunity to interact with everyone”.

He went on to say:

“I think this is why it helped me so much at the Scottish Championship at Fairmont St Andrews. My relaxed attitude all week helped me to finish 4th, the best result I've ever had on the European Tour. I felt so comfortable that final day playing in the last group. It’s always something you work towards, but you can never replicate that experience unless you are in the heat of battle. There were so many positives to take from that week!”

Garrick is very fortunate to be in the position of keeping his card for the 2021 season. It’s almost been like having a taster year out on the European Tour before the real show begins in January. He has learnt so much about himself and his game that he can use moving forward. He believes the biggest thing for him is consistency.

Not everyone sees the amount of hard work that goes into performing at the highest stage. Garrick is very lucky to have the support network he has to push him forward. Additionally, to compete on the European Tour he could not do what he does without his sponsors Puma, Cobra, Titleist, Penny Petroleum, Brian Walker and MHA Tait Walker. Their support to him from the get go has been amazing and he cannot thank them enough.

Garrick finished 145th on the Road to Dubai and he knows next year it will be for real. He is fired up to learn the lessons from 2020, work hard and get ready to retain his European Tour card in 2021.

Cyprus Swing

Garrick’s latest journey on the European Tour 2020 took him and the Tour to Cyprus for the very first time and the amazing Aphrodite Hills resort near Paphos. Buoyed by his fourth placed finish in the Scottish Championship he went with his confidence high looking for another good two weeks on tour.

The course winds its way up, down and across the ravines that make it a stunning setting overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The players were all in agreement that it was a fantastic venue and the golf course was in great condition.

Alas, Garrick missed the cut in week one shooting 70-72 for level par, where the format was the regular 72-hole medal. Week two was a ‘Shootout’ with the first cut being reduced to only 32 players after 36 holes. Garrick shot 70 (-1) in round one, but showed some aggressive and positive signs in round two as he tried to go low to make the cut at six under par! Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for him.

It’s now a week off to coincide with re-scheduled Masters tournament before travelling down to South Africa for three events to finish the 2020 season. Garrick is very upbeat about his game and the lessons he is learning this year on the European Tour, which he hopes, will bode well for the future.

Top 5 Finish

Garrick Porteous produced his best ever finish on the European Tour when he placed tied fourth at the Scottish Championship at Fairmont St Andrews. Garrick started the tournament with a 66 (-6) and followed it up with a 69 (-3) to make his third cut in a row. On moving day, he produced a scintillating front nine to move to the top of the leaderboard ensuring he received plenty of coverage from Sky Sports. He eventually shot another 66 in round three to lie in second position going into the final round.

Playing in the final three ball on a Sunday on the European Tour is where all professional golfers want to be. It was a great spot to be for Garrick and just shows his game is trending in the right direction after two good tournaments in Portugal and Ireland.

There were some nerves, but after a steady start to the final round he rolled in three birdies in a row from the fourth hole to catch the overnight leader, Matt Wallace. It was all tight at the top as Garrick, Matt Wallace and Adrian Otaegui vied for victory over the final nine holes. Ultimately, it was the Spaniard who came out on top with some excellent golf in a final round of 63. Garrick finished fourth with a final round 71 (-1) to shoot 16 under par for the tournament.

Garrick was really pleased with his performance and he will have learnt a lot from the experience. He is looking forward to his next tournament and the challenges that lie ahead buoyed by this confidence filled performance.

Challenging Times

These are certainly challenging times and for sport and golf that is no different. Garrick is enjoying being back in European Tour competition and he is learning all the time.

After a very positive start to the UK Swing in his first two tournaments, he missed the cut in the next event, The English Championships. His golf was good, but despite shooting 71-68 (-3) the cut fell at five under which demonstrates the standard on the European Tour.

Garrick’s final two events on the UK Swing were at Celtic Manor and The Belfry. He struggled with life in the bubble and his form wasn’t at the level required and he missed both cuts. However, he was buoyed by the next series of events in Spain and Portugal.

Valderrama proved a very difficult test on the European Tour this year with strong winds, thick rough and firm greens. The cut fell at +8 that demonstrates the difficulty the players faced. Garrick played well at times but not well enough to make the cut. However, the experience will prove useful for future visits.

Garrick’s final event on the Iberian Swing was the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura. He played really well in the first two rounds shooting 70-69 (-3) to make his first cut in five events. He then moved further forward in round three shooting 69 to stand at -5 (tied 20th) going into the final round. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite happen for him on the final day as he shot 73 (+2) to finish 44th.

Garrick is very upbeat about the last few weeks. He is learning all the time and working hard to develop his game to compete on the European Tour. He now has a week off before playing in the Irish Open At Galgorm Castle, Northern Ireland on the 24th September 2020.

Promising Start to UK Swing

Garrick has made a very positive start to the UK Swing as golf returns to the European Tour in 2020. He has made both cuts in the two tournaments played so far and is delighted to be back on the course.

Garrick made a scintillating start to the Betfred British Masters at Close House shooting 65 (-6) in the first round to be tied second. Anticipation was high for a top ten finish on “home turf” but despite making the cut he didn’t sustain that early form and finally finished tied 61st.

In the second event, the Hero Open at the Forest of Arden Garrick finished tied 22nd shooting 70-72-72-65 (-9). His final round included seven birdies and an eagle and has given him added motivation and momentum ahead of the English Championship at Hanbury Manor.

Tournament Golf Returns

It is more than three months since Garrick Porteous teed it up in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March 2019. However, he is about to resume his professional golf career with three mini tour events before the European Tour resumes on the 22 July 2020.

Garrick is playing in the 2020 Pro Tour at Oulton Hall Golf Club, Leeds on Monday 15th June and at Wakefield Golf Club on Monday 6th July. He is also playing on the Pro Clutch Tour in one of their major events at Hollinwell Golf Club, Nottingham on Monday 29th June. These are all 18-hole events but will be useful for Garrick to get some much-needed practice in a competition.

The European Tour will return to action initially behind closed doors in July and run through until December. All tournaments will be subject to stringent safety and testing protocols set out in the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy which will continue to evolve, aligned with international Government guidance and health guidelines.

The first tournament in the ‘UK Swing’ is the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, which will be played at Close House, near Newcastle in the north east of England, from Wednesday July 22 to Saturday July 25 – a week earlier than originally scheduled.

It will be followed by the English Open at the Marriott Forest of Arden and the English Championship at Marriott Hanbury Manor, before The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport hosts back-to-back European Tour tournaments – the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open.

It is a timely return to the south Wales resort as this year also marks the tenth anniversary of Europe’s dramatic victory against the United States in The 2010 Ryder Cup at the same venue.

The UK Swing will then conclude with the UK Championship at The Belfry, another venue rich in Ryder Cup history, having played host to four contests with Europe triumphing in two (1985 and 2002), the US having won in 1993, with the 1989 match ending in a 14-14 tie.

Garrick is really looking forward to the ‘UK Swing’ on the European Tour and getting back into competition. There is plenty of motivation with the first event right at home in the north east of England.

New Sporting Partnership

MHA Tait Walker’s Wealth Management team has entered into a new partnership with professional European Tour golfer Garrick Porteous, to offer support to the sporting community during turbulent times. As golf is now allowed under the new rules as the UK starts to come out of lockdown, the Wealth Management team at MHA Tait Walker felt it was important to support the region’s young, talented sports stars.

Garrick is now set to appear at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House between 22 and 25th July, his first European Tour tournament since lockdown began in March.

Garrick said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is the most challenging time the sports industry has ever witnessed, and we have all taken a big hit. However, as we return to a new normal, golf is the perfect social distance sport if the return is managed properly. I’m really looking forward to the chance to hone my skills and compete again. I feel very fortunate that I am able to play right now when others can’t. It’s been difficult trying to practice from home and I just feel very lucky that I’m able to improve my game.”

Mark Parkinson, Wealth Management Partner at MHA Tait Walker, said: “As a firm, we are delighted to be able to partner with Garrick and look forward to watching his progress in the coming months. Garrick and his peers have been totally compromised by this pandemic and it is vital that as a regional business, we continue to support the people and communities in which we all live and work.”

The firm’s 70-strong Wealth Management and Tax teams work together to provide specialist advice for clients.

Swing Speed Golf

Golf stopped for Garrick Porteous in March 2020 when the UK and most of the World went into lockdown. All professional and amateur golf was put on hold as the priority became halting the Covid-19 pandemic. The last three months have been unprecedented times and everyone has had to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Garrick was no different. The lockdown gave him an opportunity to put down his golf clubs and take a break from the game for a number of weeks. Something he has not done for a very long time. It gave him the chance to re-charge his batteries and prepare for golf’s return.

Garrick has not been idle. He quickly organised his back garden with a driving net alongside his putting mat so he could put in some useful practice. He also worked really hard with his Swing Speed Golf trainer.

As a Swing Speed Golf Ambassador Garrick endorses the product and has seen the real benefits in his own golf game. He encourages everyone to put one in their bag and says “I have encouraged my family to use Swing Speed Golf and they have gained 10mph of speed. By following the training programme within a few months the average golfer will see the results and will be hitting it miles!”

European Tour Action Returns

Garrick Porteous returns to European Tour action this week at the Oman Open, which is being staged at the Al Mouj Golf Club, Muscat. Garrick gets under way on Thursday 27th February 2020 with an early tee time of 06.55am. He went out early to Oman to avoid the awful British weather and get some good practice under his belt.

Garrick is at the start of a three-week competitive run where he will play in the Oman Open (February 27th), followed by the Qatar Masters (March 5th) and then the Kenya Open (March 12th). He is looking forward to some sustained golf after a stop-start beginning to 2020.

Garrick is excited that his 2020 season is finally getting into full swing. He is really appreciative of all the support he gets from his sponsors and his coaching team. He is hoping that all the hard work and support will bring positive results in the tournaments ahead.

Down Under

Garrick Porteous returns to European Tour action this week when he competes in the ISPS Handa Vic Open at the 13th Beach Golf resort in Geelong near Melbourne. This is a unique event as it features both men’s and ladies European Tour events being staged on the same golf course at the same time.

The ISPS Handa Vic Open brings together the men's and women's professional game, with two tournaments being played concurrently on the same golf courses for a purse of AUD$3million split equally. Men and women compete in alternating men's and women's groups on the Beach and Creek courses at 13th Beach Golf Links, with a 36-hole cut seeing players progress to a weekend on the Beach Course. There is then another cut after the third round and two champions are crowned at the close of play on Sunday.

Garrick is excited to be playing again. He competed three weeks ago in the South African Open, shooting 72-70 (-2) to narrowly miss the cut, but felt his game was in good shape. After some good preparation and training at home he is now ready to see how his game fares under competition. Garrick starts on the Beach course at 07.50 am on Thursday 6th February followed by the Creek course at 12.40pm on Friday 7th February.

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