Far away from the glitz and glamour of the WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas the Challenge Tour is finally getting under way in Kenya tomorrow.
Europe’s second-tier is emerging from hibernation and Cormac Sharvin, Michael Hoey, Gary Hurley and Chris Selfridge have been enticed to Nairobi’s Muthaiga Golf Club for the season opener.
Selfridge is eager to get going after his 2016 campaign was wrecked by a niggling wrist problem. A similar injury also put paid to his Euro Tour Q-School ambitions in 2015.
“I tore a ligament in my wrist a few weeks after the NI Open in August,” said the 24-year-old who is embarking on his third season on tour.
“I was out for a few weeks and then I came back for the Kazakhstan Open and it happened again as I was hacking out of the rough. I knew straight away.
“So then I was out for another four weeks, came back to play in the UAE and went to Q-School but I never made it through. By that stage I was healthy, but just too rusty.”
Chris has spent the off-season working with physios at the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland (SINI) and other experts to strengthen and protect the problem area and early season preparations have been positive.
“I haven’t had any issues while I have been playing and practicing,” he added.
“The last two seasons I have been looking good to make it to the European Tour.
“In 2015 the injury happened at Q-School when I was playing really well. And then last year, right in the middle of the season when I was in the top 30 of the Challenge Tour rankings.
“It is frustrating, but golf is frustrating, there is nothing else for it; you have to get on with it.
“I went to Portugal for a few weeks in January to play some mini-tour golf.
“It was a chance to ‘stress test’ the wrist and it went well, I played some pretty good golf considering I hadn’t played a lot of competitive golf in two and half months.”
In two full seasons on tour Chris had proven himself a consistent performer but that first win is proving elusive. His best finish is a tie for fourth at the Challenge de Madrid last year.
He needs to make that breakthrough and maybe having the experienced Michael Hoey around can help.
Hoey, who lost his full European Tour card last year has four wins at Challenge Tour level, the last of those coming at the Madeira Islands Open in 2011. The 38-year-old recently showed some signs of a return to form by finishing tied for eighth at the Hero India Open.
“We are rooming together in Kenya. He is a good guy to be around,” added Chris.
“I’m looking forward to getting the season started again and I would love to finally get a win.
“I know I am good enough, I have played loads of good golf, it’s just a matter of continuing to work hard, keep doing what I am doing and the results will come.”