EDDIE Pepperell thinks a maiden European Tour victory is on the horizon following two near misses already in his rookie season. Oxfordshire’s No 1 burst into the spotlight with a tie for sixth place in the illustrious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last month, which came hot on the heels of a joint eighth finish in the Spanish Open. The Abingdon golfer was in contention for both titles over the closing holes – an impressive position for a 22-year-old who has only been on the tour for six months. Pepperell has been hugely encouraged by his show of mental strength – a feature of the performances – which has convinced him a first European Tour success is on the cards. He said: “I’ve been two shots away from winning in Spain and Wentworth. That could easily have been me winning.

“There’s absolutely no question I feel I can win now, that’s probably the greatest confidence boost. “After competing – especially at an event like the PGA with such a strong field – I definitely feel I can win. “I’m excited, I want to get in the hunt again and be up there in the top five going into the final day with a chance to win. “The more I can do that, the more I can learn about the swing under pressure and hopefully hit the right shots.” Tour ambitions will be put to one side next week when he takes on a new challenge. A day after the BMW PGA Championship, he qualified for the US Open and the world No 235 departs for Pennsylvania on Sunday. It marks another step forward for the bright talent, but the Wentworth experience provides plenty of optimism. When faced with the biggest test in his career so far, Pepperell was undaunted and it reinforced a belief that golfers should entertain. “That was my opportunity and really I was just enjoying it,” he commented. “There were some tough shots I had to hit, but when there’s that many people around, you’re almost trying to impress them. “That’s a nice way to think of it – we are sportsmen and entertainers. “People have paid money to come and watch you play and you have to feel obliged to entertain them. That’s what I try to do.”