James Ruebotham is eagerly anticipating his first ever tilt at the PGA Play-Offs in Turkey, writes Tony Rushmer.
The Welwyn Garden City-attached professional earned his spot for the end-of-season showdown by finishing third on the East region’s Order of Merit.
Now he is looking forward to being part of the elite 24-man field that will tee up at Antalya Golf Club from November 27-29.
Ruebotham will join fellow East region qualifiers Jason Levermore (Little Channels Golf Centre) and Mark Talbott (Thorpe Hall) as they take on the best PGA professionals from Britain and Ireland.
The 37-year-old has already shown this year that he can be very competitive in such company. In June he fired back-to-back rounds in the 60s to finish in the top-10 at the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship.
“There are some extremely good players, but even so,” said Ruebotham, assessing his Play-Offs chances. “I know that if I play to a good level I can compete with them
“I’ve got to play quality golf – there’s no two ways about it. You’ve got to get out there and try and play your best golf at the right time,
“But I’m not really worried about who I’m playing against. I know the quality of score you’re going to have to shoot to have a chance, so that’s all I’m focussed on really.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it. From what I’ve heard from a few guys who have been there, driving the ball is going to be quite big. I feel like I’m driving the ball pretty well at the moment, so I’ve got to keep that up. And I’ve also been doing a bit of work on my putting with James Jankowski (JJ Golf).”
One area of Ruebotham’s game that looked in strong shape in the final Order of Merit event, staged at the Millbrook Club, was his resolve. Ruebotham recovered well from a slow start that threatened to undermine his top-three spot in the annual rankings.
He said: “I was definitely very happy to see it through in the end. There’s a lot of good players in our region and to squeeze through, top three, I was very pleased with that.”
That determination saw him qualify for Turkey. Now, like all the others in field, he will be hoping that the Play-Offs will provide a passport to prestigious European Tour starts in the 2020 season. Up for grabs for the winner at Antalya is a spot in the BMW PGA Championship, while the top-five will get an entry into the British Masters.
Ruebotham said: “I’d love to play at Wentworth, but the British Masters would still be a fantastic opportunity.”