Paul joins golfing royalty

Sleaford-bred Streeter turned down an offer to play football for Lincoln United before concentrating on golf EMN-180514-101009002
Sleaford-bred Streeter turned down an offer to play football for Lincoln United before concentrating on golf EMN-180514-101009002

Pro golfer Paul Streeter is looking forward to being one of the youngsters after earning a coveted place on the PGA European Seniors Tour.

With just five Tour cards up for grabs at final qualifying, the former Sleaford Golf Club player faced four high-pressure rounds in Portugal.

But despite the intensity of the situation, he played consistently well to shoot one-under for the tournament and finish third, earning the right to play against a host of Major winners and Ryder Cup stars, including Jose Maria Olazabal, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie and Paul McGinlay.

“There were only five tour cards available, and if you finished sixth you got nothing, so there was a lot more pressure than qualifying for the European Tour.

“I was up there all the way, but I was very nervous coming down the last few holes.

“I knew I could bogey the last two and still get through, but it was probably the most nervous I’d been. I wouldn’t want to go back there!”

Streeter will play all 19 Tour events, starting in Denmark on June 1, living out of a suitcase for the bulk of the year while zigzagging his way across Europe.

Stop-offs in South Africa, Mauritius and the Seychelles are also part of the schedule.

Despite being the new kid on the block, Streeter is aiming high, targeting a win and the Rookie of the Year title.

But the primary goal will be a top-20 finish in the order of merit which offers automatic qualification for next season and a means of avoiding a dreaded return to Q School.

“It would be nice to get a win under my belt and finish in the top 20,” he added. “But it’s all new ground to me so I don’t know exactly what to expect.

“If you finish in the top five on Tour School you know you can handle the pressure, and I definitely feel I have the game.

“I still love the game and I’ve probably practiced harder at the start of this year than I ever have done.

“I’m hitting the ball lovely at the moment and playing nicely.”

The novelty of being a fresh-faced 51-year-old among the pack of over 50s is just one of the aspects Streeter is looking forward to.

“I started playing golf when I was 16, I turned pro when I was 30 and got my Tour card when I was 33 so I’ve never been a youngster on the Tour before,” he explained.

“It’s going to be fun to play alongside some big names. I think I’d most like to play alongside Woosie (Woosnam) because he makes the game look so easy and plays at a nice brisk pace, and Ollie (Olazabal) to watch his short game because it’s amazing.”

While stepping slightly into the unknown, Streeter did get a taste of what’s to come after qualifying for the Seniors Open Championship at Porthcawl last year.

He celebrated making the cut in atrocious conditions by shooting the joint-lowest third round score while teeing off with former US Masters champion Larry Mize.

“It was probably some of the worst weather I had ever played in, but I enjoyed the experience,” he said.

“I played in the Open at St Andrews in 2010 and the Seniors version was definitely more relaxed.”