A EUROPEAN tour card is on the mind of Hilperton golfer James Cooper after he finished third at the Cumberwell Park Championship.

The teenager, who is currently an amateur, finished the three-day competition 12-under and raised an eyebrow or two after qualifying for the Dawson and Sanderson Classic in Northumberland.

Having started golf at the age of six, Cooper is eyeing a switch from amateur to professional in two years.

But the Cumberwell Park player admits gaining invaluable experience on the EuroPro Tour is key if he’s to establish a successful career in the sport.

He said: “I want to try and get some more experience as an amateur and work my way up from there.

“I don’t want to turn professional too early, that will put a lot of pressure on myself to do well.

“You never know what can happen in sport, I plan to go to European Tour school at the end of the year, getting a card there would be great.

“Luckily there are a good group of lads that are older than me at Cumberwell that are helping me.

“It won’t be easy, but I want to reach the top level.

“I play with a lot of people that are older than me and many say they can’t believe I’m 18.

“Those older players have helped me mature quickly.”

The 18-year-old benefits from the advice of professionals including Steve Surry, Will Brown and Laurie Canter, all of whom have helped him mature into the player he is today.

After hitting rounds of 65, 67 and 69, Cooper finished four shots short of eventual winner Mark Young with Steve Surry claiming second spot.

Despite a frustrating back nine of the final day of play, Cooper confirmed he was pleased with his performance overall.

He said: “I would’ve took the result at the start of the week.

“I didn’t really think about my score too much, I just went out and played and tried to enjoy it.

“The back nine I wanted to stay in contention during the last day, but I couldn’t seem to get things to work for me which was a shame.

“It was a great week though.”

Playing on a regular basis is now top of Cooper’s priority list with tournaments including the South-West Boys Championship and British Boys Championship on the horizon.

“There are a couple of months where I’m playing on a consistent basis so it will be a good challenge,” said Cooper.

“It will be a nice introduction to the higher part of the sport.

“Because I’m improving I can play in more events, and that in turn tests my fitness and how mentally strong I am.”