Skelmanthorpe golfer Marcus Armitage has secured a spot on the European Tour following a fantastic year on the course.
The 29-year-old, who plays at Howley Hall Golf Club near Batley, flies to South Africa this weekend ahead of his first event on the Tour, which takes place at the famous Leopard Creek Country Club.
A win at the Foshan Open helped Armitage jump 41 places in the rankings, pin down a place on the European Tour and scoop him prize money of €72,332, but Armitage insisted he never imagined he could qualify for the Tour - where Woodsome Hall's Chris Hanson retained his card after a tremendous rookie season.
"I just didn't really believe – I'm just Marcus from Skelmanthorpe and Howley Hall golf club!" said the world number 278.
"I thought if it happens it happens but I didn't really believe – I was just enjoying myself.
"Winning in China was a weird experience.
"I was playing with a few of my friends – Scott Henry and Matthew Nixon – that I've known for a long time. I played the first event and I shot millions and Scott said to me 'What are you doing? Your decision making has alarming signs on it!'
"So I actually spoke to his caddy for the next week and got a plan and stuck to it the whole week.
"To be fair going out there I thought 'you're not good enough so just go earn a bit of cash for winter' and the win just goes to show that I am good enough!"
And Armitage was quick to thank his swing coach Anthony Sheehy who has guided the golfer throughout his career.
Sheehy dedicates a large amount of his time to coaching Armitage, despite having a full-time job.
"I've been on the road so long I've just gone back to Anthony for the last three weeks," said Armitage.
"It's quite brutal on his life and it's quite brutal on mine because he has a day job he has to focus on and he's got a family and kids so we have to meet between five and six in the morning and spend a couple of hours on my game before he goes to work.
"I then go on to his brother John at the gym and then I go to Duncan McCarthy my mind coach.
"Since I've come home I've just got back to basics - being Marcus Armitage. Going back to my daily routine so being a European Tour player hasn't really hit me yet.
"I'm still the same guy, I'm still doing the same things."
And that was no more obvious than after Armitage's win at the Foshan Open.
When asked about the celebrations after the event he replied: "I just really wanted to get home and see my bulldog Molly! - The Mrs as well – but our little bulldog is my life!
"There's only a couple of people above the bulldog in my life and they know who they are - that's why my nickname is The Bulldog.
"I just wanted to get home and see my dad and my girlfriend and cuddle my bulldog!"
Marcus Armitage factfile
|Attachment||Howley Hall GC|
|Date of Birth||15/07/1987|
|Place of Birth||Salford, England|
|Height & Weight||6ft 183cm (14st 90kgs)|
|Interests||Bulldogs, boxing, music, family|
|Turned Pro||2008 (plus 3)|
But now Armitage is due to jet off again, this time to South Africa and the his first European Tour event (where Hanson is also in the field).
He said: "I'm looking forward to Leopard Creek because my dad hasn't been to many places with me and I'm taking my dad with me this time - I think he deserves it.
"I'll arrive around the golf club at around Sunday tea time so I'll just be getting acclimatised a little bit on the Sunday and then Monday morning I'll get up to the club and me and my caddy will do a bit of work and ease myself into the conditions so as not want to burn myself out.
"We'll be very structured in what we'll do. We'll spend a lot of time on the greens because obviously being at home in the winter you can't get the practice in on the greens like it will be in South Africa, so that will be our key focus."
And after South Africa, Armitage's focus will turn to the HBS Hong Kong Open.
Despite being 13th reserve, the Skelmanthorpe golfer is confident of taking part in the competition which was won by Englishman Justin Rose last year.
After Hong Kong Armitage will look to schedule his tournaments to give himself more time at home than the five to 10 weeks he managed this year, but has set himself no limits in terms of what he wants to achieve in the long term.
"I really don't have any limits - I have goals as in a minimum of what I want from myself," he said.
"One of the inspirational videos I watched it said 'limits are just an illusion', you know they don't actually exist.
"I've no limits but I've got expectancy of being a European Tour winner, a major winner and that's it."
You can watch Armitage in action at leopard Creek on Sky Sports 4 from Thursday, December 1.