Scottish prodigy Ewen Ferguson has emerged as a potential futurE star of European golf after a super season so far, with his eyes now locked on further glory in the desert.
The 26-year-old has risen from the depths of last year’s Challenge Tour to claim two DP World Tour titles since March in resounding style and has booked his debut at the prized 2022 DP World Tour Championship in November.
After threatening to win the Magical Kenya Open, Ferguson finally claimed his maiden victory at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters three weeks later. In doing so, he became the first British player to win in the ‘DP World Tour’ era. Five months on, he set a course record at Galgorm Castle on his way to winning the ISPS Handa World Invitational in wire-to-wire fashion. The Scotsman started the year outside the top 300 players in the world, but is now closing in on the top 100 with plenty of ranking points up for grabs over the course of next few months. It’s been the perfect progression, and he already has his eyes on the season’s final DP World Tour event.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Dubai as I love it there,” Ferguson told Worldwide Golf. “It’s pretty cool to be playing against some of the top 20 in the world who will be there. It’s a no cut event, a big purse and always something I’ve wanted to do. I think I’ll fly my family out to be there with me for the week and just try to make it memorable, hopefully by performing to a high level.”
The 2015 Walker Cup player will need to bring his finest form again as Jumeirah Golf Estate’s Earth course is expected to welcome some of the world’s elite. The likes of Rory McIlroy and Will Zalatoris, injury permitting, are set to descend on Dubai in November to battle it out for the DP World Tour’s top prize in a high-calibre 50-man field.
However, despite the glamour and big names, Ferguson remains confident. Now a proven winner, he’s starting to feel comfortable contending and believes he knows how to succeed at Jumeirah Golf Estates. “I’ve played on the Earth course before which is a very difficult course,” he explained. “But I feel like if I’m driving it well there and have a hot putter then I can definitely contend. It’s important to play from the fairway there. If you can do that and can rely on a good putter, that’s what gets you into contention in the desert.”
Middle East comforts
Ferguson did exactly that when he went three under for his last three holes in Qatar to win. In doing so, he became the first Scotsman to triumph in the Middle East since Stephen Gallacher at the 2014 Dubai Desert Classic. However, the 26-year-old revealed to Worldwide Golf that performing in the Middle East is something he’s always been comfortable with. “I’ve played a lot of golf in Dubai as well which helps,” he said. “I’ve been out there since my teenage years with the Scottish national team. I go there a lot, and like to practice at the Els Club. They kindly let me practice for free and I sometimes have the place to myself to do what I want, which is nice.”
Along with Ferguson’s dominant win in Northern Ireland came the achievement of becoming the first Scottish player for a decade to win twice in the same DP World Tour season. A rare feat with Paul Lawrie the last to do so back in 2012. This year he also became the fourth Scottish first-time winner since 2020. Between 2015 and 2019, there were only two of the kind. The likes of Robert MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Calum Hill have all claimed their first titles, with Ferguson now adding a second to his name. It got us thinking, why is Scottish golf seeing a mini resurgence?
“I think we’re always going to have random times where we play great as a nation,” he says. “Then there will also be times when things simply don’t go as well for us Scots. What I would say is our amateur scene is great, with all of us playing in the same team with one another in the past. We were all quite close as friends and also in performing at a high level in amateur tournaments, so we were doing that then and then we see each other doing it now. Everyone keeps thinking, ‘if he can do it, I can do it’.
“I also play with Robert MacIntyre on my weeks off, at Archerfield or somewhere at home, so I am really close to my fellow countrymen. It’s good competition. We text all the time and they are really happy for me this year.”
Ferguson is on the verge of making even more history in 2022. He’s set himself a busy schedule for the rest of the year which includes playing six events in a row, with plenty of opportunities to secure some more crucial DP World Tour Ranking points. Having recently rocketed into the top 20 of the season-long Rankings, the Scotsman has time on his side and could now mount a surprise challenge for the Harry Vardon Trophy with over 40,000 points still up for grabs. The current leaders – McIlroy and Zalatoris – are only expected make a handful of starts before the season’s finale and while Ferguson is still admittedly big underdog, he does have a chance. If he was to win another tournament, he would become the first Scot since Colin Montgomerie in 1999 to triumph three times in one calendar year.
“I’m a bit of a golf nut myself so I know all of the Scottish golf history and all of that kinda stuff,” Ferguson responded when asked about breaking records. “It’s always in the back of my mind about how nice it would be to go out and match some of them before me, or even get as many wins as some of them. There have been some cracking golfers from Scotland in the past as well. I also know some of them now which is quite nice and they put their arm round me which is really kind.”
‘Getting over the line’
As we enter the final stages of the 50th DP World Tour season, we look forward to ending the calendar year with some of golf’s most iconic events still left on the schedule. The remainder of the season is set to host nationals opens in countries like France and Italy, before a voyage south to Sun City for ‘Africa’s Major’ at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Several more winners will be crowned over the coming months all over the globe, and Ferguson’s aiming to get in the mix again to turn a great year into an incredible one.
“I’m not going to say I’m going to win again this year, but I think I’ll get myself into contention again,” he said. “If I manage to hold my nerve and play to the ability I know I’m capable of, then I could get over the line. It’s all about putting yourself in position and I’ve done that a few times this year now. It’s nice to finally start feeling comfortable in those situations, and maybe I’ll be able to get over the line again this year. If not, I know in future seasons I’ll be there or there abouts a few more times in my career, and if it falls my way then fantastic.”