Lewton takes early lead at Euro Q-School
Sunday, January 23, 2011
GIRONA, Spain – Five more good rounds and Steve Lewton can join Ian Poulter, and maybe never have to worry about selling a used car again.
Lewton fired a 7-under 63 over the Tour Course at PGA Catalunya in the opening round of European Tour Final Qualifying to lead by one over Australia’s Andrew Tampion and France’s Jean-Francois Lucqin. It was a flawless display, with no bogeys.
Poulter will be proud. The manager of the Car Shop Megastore in Northampton, England, will be less pleased.
Lewton is a Poulter protégé. They both play out of Woburn Golf Club near Milton Keynes, England, where Poulter is the club’s tournament professional, and where Lewton learned to play the game.
Lewton wears Poulter’s clothing line, and has practiced with and taken lessons from the world No. 8. Maybe that’s the reason Lewton turned up at Q-School feeling so confident.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with more self belief than Ian,” Lewton said. “If I had even half his confidence I’d be happy.”
Lewton turned up at Q School after winning the second stage of Tour School. A four round total of 8-under-par at Arcos Gardens Golf Club got him into final stage.
“I’ve been playing pretty well for the past six weeks, so I was reasonably confident coming into the week,” he said. “Obviously winning the second stage last week gave me a confidence boost, and I’ve carried that form here with me.”
There’s another reason why Lewton has extra incentive to do well at Q School. He sold second-hand cars last winter to help pay the bills. He’d much rather be making birdies than making deals on wheels.
“When I look back on it, it was a great experience. I worked 12-hour days, out in cold weather and had to deal with all sorts of people. It made me realize how lucky I was to have a the talent to play golf.”
The 27-year-old Englishman has experienced the highs and lows of the royal & ancient game. He was a two-time winner while at North Carolina State in the U.S. collegiate circuit. One of those wins came after beating Dustin Johnson down the stretch. Lewton eagled the 18th to beat the now-PGA Tour star.
He won twice in Australia in February 2007, winning the Avondale Medal and the New South Wales Medal. Those victories earmarked him for the 2007 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team. However, he lost his swing and his game and never made the team that lost to the United States at Royal County Down.
For the last three seasons, Lewton has plied his trade on the Alps Tour and the European Challenge Tour. He finished second on the Alps Tour in 2009 to gain a card for this year’s European Challenge Tour.
He finished 80th on this year’s Challenge Tour, with a best place of 5th in the Allianz Open Cotes d’Armor Bretagne.
Now he’s in pole position to join Poulter on the European Tour, and say goodbye to the used car lot.