TROWBRIDGE golfer Steve Surry hopes he has overcome a key mental hurdle after successfully negotiating his way past the first step towards a European Tour place last week.

The 34-year-old, based out of the Cumberwell Park club near Bradford on Avon, shot a combined nine under par over four rounds at Northamptonshire’s Collingtree Park course to progress from the first stage of the Tour’s Qualifying School.

He still faces a second qualifying stage in Spain in early November which, if successful, would be followed by the Q School finals near Girona shortly afterwards to try and claim one of 25 prized spots available on to the full Tour for 2017.

But the Wiltshire player hopes the experience of coming through his first ‘exam’ on the road to the top tier of European golf will stand him in good stead for the challenges ahead.

Progress was especially satisfying on this occasion after Surry had failed to book his place at the second stage 12 months ago by a single shot.

“I’m quite happy with that,’’ he told the Wiltshire Times after rounds of 68, 69, 71 and 71 had stamped his ticket to Spain in just over a month’s time.

“It’s never very nice going through qualifying and it’s a bit like an exam in many ways I suppose.

“So it’s nice to get through, especially after last year when I missed out by a shot when I thought I’d done enough to get through.

“The last two or three times I’ve missed out at stage one and it gets in your head a bit that no matter how well or badly you play you might always miss out.

“It keeps the season going.

“I almost feel it gets a bit easier as it goes along when you’ve got through the first stage, at least until the pressure is really back on at the end.’’ Clubmate Laurie Canter went through Q School last year on his way to earning 2016 European Tour playing rights and Cumberwell Park stepped in to help Surry with the £1,500 fee to enter this time around.

“That’s a bit of pressure in itself,’’ he added. “If someone has forked out £1,500 for you to go and play golf for a week, you don’t want to go back and say you haven’t made it.

“It’s nice someone I know (Canter) has got through and it makes you say to yourself ‘if he can do it, then I can too.’”

Surry, who holds a card on the southern Africa Sunshine Tour, hopes to jet out there next week to play in a couple of events to re-establish his playing rights there before heading home to concentrate on his European Tour bid again.

“I’ve been pretty consistent this year,’’ he added. “There were two top 10s on the Sunshine Tour and three top 10s in eight events on the EuroPro (third tier) Tour and a few second and third places on the Jamega Tour.

“Hopefully I can play a couple of events and get a better category (of playing rights) in South Africa, then play a hit in Spain on the way home ahead of Q School.’’