OLLY Huggins is aiming to make a name for himself on the Challenge Tour after exceeding expectations on his professional debut.

The Frilford Heath member tied for 24th at the Frederikshavn Challenge, in Denmark, ending the tournament five-under par to finish 12 shots behind winner Freddy Schott.

Huggins banked €2,300 in prize money as a result, although the Botley resident reckons he spent roughly that figure to play at the event.

The 23-year-old is a familiar face on the amateur scene, representing England regularly since 2020 and helping his country win the Men’s Home Internationals earlier this month.

The Challenge Tour is a new experience, but Huggins returned to the UK last night full of confidence after more than holding his own.

He said: “My goal was to make the cut and get my first pay cheque, and I achieved that.

“I made a few mistakes but that’s normal.

“It’s so different to amateur golf and I didn’t know what the craic is with practice rounds and things like that.

“In amateur golf, I know all the boys but I got to the course and nobody knew me.

“As I play more, everyone will know me because of how well I’m going to play.”

Huggins praised his caddie and friend Louis Saunders as ‘unbelievable’, which helped the Oxfordshire golfer settle into the tournament.

Indeed, the rising star’s opening round was his best all weekend as he birdied the first, fourth, ninth and 11th holes to card a four-under par 68.

Huggins wobbled on day two as he started from the tenth and dropped five shots before the turn, but he recovered to end on three-over and make the cut.

He took his good form into the weekend with rounds of 69 and 71, playing alongside countryman John Parry and Sweden’s Mikael Lindberg – both ranked in the top 40 of the Challenge Tour – in his final round.

“I asked him loads of questions about what to expect,” Huggins said of Parry.

“There were a lot of people playing who were high up in the rankings.

“It felt like watching the good players when I was younger.

“In the final round I played with two great players and it was good to finally compete with them.

“It spurred me on and made me play well. I took so much out of the week.”

Huggins returns to the UK nursing a minor hand injury and will take two weeks off before his next event, the DP World Tour Q-School at The Players Club on August 30.

He has his sights set on the English Trophy at Frilford Heath from September 8 to 11 as he looks to push up the Challenge Tour rankings.

Currently 246 after his first event, Huggins is aiming high as he targets a big 2023.

He said: “I’m so excited, I’m feeling good and feel like I’ve proven myself this week.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to perform, but I definitely think I deserve to stay on the tour.

“I’m aiming for at least a top ten (at Frilford Heath) so I can get towards the top 70 and get a card for next year.”

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