It’s back to school for Dougherty

Nick Dougherty, once Nick Faldo’s golden boy, is hoping to salvage his flagging career at Q-School in the coming days.

Nick Dougherty, once Nick Faldo’s golden boy of the future, is hoping to salvage his flagging career at the European Tour’s Q-School in Spain over the next half-a-dozen days.

The three-time Tour winner finds himself having to tee-off on Saturday in the six-day qualifying marathon after a nightmare season in which he made only one halfway cut.

Dougherty has tumbled down to 964th in the world rankings, has won only 9,000 euros in the last 12 months and now has to finish in the top 30 in Girona next week to secure his Tour card next season.

He said: “It’s still only a golf tournament. It’s often referred to as the ‘dreaded Tour School’, but we’re only there to play golf – it’s like we’re expected to find a cure for cancer.

“Obviously in an ideal world I would’ve played well enough to have kept my card, but the reality is that I didn’t play anywhere near well enough.

“Things can turn around quickly in this game. There are still some technical issues I need to address going forward, but all my focus this week has to be on playing the best I possibly can.

“Of course it’s been very tough at times, but there’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve just got to keep plugging away and hoping you turn the corner.

“If I can play well here this week and build some confidence, it could be the start of good things for me again.”