Louth golfer Sam Done all set for full England debut

Sam Done ended the season with a European amateur golf ranking of 126th
Sam Done ended the season with a European amateur golf ranking of 126th

Up-and-coming golfer Sam Done is relishing the chance to test his game against some of the leading amateurs in Europe this week.

The Kenwick Park star makes his full international debut as part of a six-man England team in the 2019 Costa Ballena octagonal match in Spain.

Sam Done became the first Kenwick Park golfer to win the Lincolnshire Open in 2017 and then only the third person to retain the title last year EMN-190121-100722002

Sam Done became the first Kenwick Park golfer to win the Lincolnshire Open in 2017 and then only the third person to retain the title last year EMN-190121-100722002

The match began yesterday (Tuesday) and continues until Friday as England take on Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and defending champions Spain, trying to better their third-place finish of last year.

Done found out the new last month after four days of training at Woodhall Spa and, despite the tournament season yet to begin here, has been honing his skills over the last four weeks.

“I think the biggest thing in being selected is that what you’ve been doing in competitions has been noticed,” he said.

“It also shows my coach, Paul Spence, and the others that help my golf progress are doing the right things and hopefully heading in the right direction.

“My main hope is to play well and do myself proud.

“If I play as well as I know I can, hopefully I can contribute to us winning the event.”

The 21-year-old goes into the match brimming with confidence after a strong second half of the 2018 season, form which ultimately earned him his place.

Done reached the matchplay stages of both the British and English amateur championships, finished an excellent eighth at the Scottish Men’s Open Championships, and was 11th in the Lee Westwood Trophy.

Closer to home he also became only the third golfer, among some illustrious names, to retain the Lincolnshire Open title.

But will there be any nerves as he dips his toes into international competition for the first time?

“You’ve just got to say if I’m good enough to be selected, I will be fine,” Done said.

“The biggest thing is to just believe in what you know. It’s got me this far so why try and do something different when it seems to be working?”

He added: “I think the level of competition will be similar to that in the top amateur events we play as individuals throughout the year.

“The other countries’ players all come to the UK and compete against us, and we go abroad to do the same, so many of us will have probably competed against each other before.

“Each of the eight games I play will be tough I’m sure, but I’m excited to see how my game compares to the others I’ll be playing.”

While Done is happy with how his game shaped up last summer, he is well aware how fickle form can be in golf.

Taking the rough with the smooth, as well as demanding constant improvement, are essential elements of learning the amateur craft, particularly for those looking, one day, to turn professional.

“The start of last season was frustrating as I felt I was playing well but not quite getting the results I maybe deserved,” Done recalled.

“The second half of the year was much more consistent, but still with room for improvement, for sure, but I guess that’s a good thing.”

A big turning point came at the British Amateur Championships where Done showed impressive strength of character to fight back from an opening round of seven-over to qualify for the matchplay stages.

“I think my second round at Royal Aberdeen was probably my favourite round of the year,” he said.

“It seemed my frustrating start to the year was continuing, but I then shot three-under and jumped 116 spots to qualify.

“That second round felt very natural, and not like it was completely out of the blue, or the best I could ever do.

“After that I seemed to have more belief in my ability and was able to kick on for the rest of the year.”