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Alps finale challenge now for man with a plan

Ross Kellett was the man who slipped quietly into the professional ranks.

While most of the noises were being made about the talented trio of James Byrne, David Law and Michael Stewart joining the paid game at the end of last season, Kellett's transition was made with the minimum of fuss.

With Byrne toiling on the Asian Tour and Stewart and Law juggling competition on a variety of circuits in a scramble to gain a toehold, Kellett's single-mindedness and clear vision of how he wanted to pursue the pro life has paid off. Well, almost. This week, in southern France, the 24-year-old will look to put the finishing touches to a largely impressive rookie campaign on the third-tier Alps Tour in the season-ending Masters 13 Tour Championship.

Currently fourth on the money list, the Colville Park member needs to safeguard his place in the top six of the rankings to secure promotion to the Challenge Tour. The man lurking in seventh place is just €952.13 behind, so there is not a lot of room for error.

He may have gone off the boil slightly in the last few weeks, but a profitable July, bolstered by a victory and a share of second in the space of seven days, got his year bubbling. That maiden triumph, in July's Montecchia Open in Italy, vindicated Kellett's decision to stick to his guns. He was given an invitation to the European Tour's Scottish Open that same weekend but turned it down, opting instead to focus on his Alps Tour duties.

"You see a lot of guys juggling tours here and there and there's no solidity; you can't control anything," he said. "I can see why some players do it. Someone tells you at the start of the season that you'll get seven invitations to the Challenge Tour and that's all well and good but you don't know when or where they'll be.

"At least I could sit down at the start of the year and map something out. I like to be organised and that paid off when I went to Italy and won instead of playing the Scottish Open. Come the end of the season, €50 could make all the difference to what I'm trying to achieve, so sticking to one circuit and playing in everything was always going to be the plan."

Having missed two cuts in his last four events, which has allowed the promotion-chasing pack to close in, Kellett, a winner of the prestigious Tennant Cup during his amateur days, is eager to conjure a final flourish in France and seal the deal.

"It's certainly not been the form I was showing during the summer," added the Scot, who will head for Spain after the Alps Tour finale for Stage 2 of the European Tour's qualifying school. "But all golfers on all the tours have these spells. Nothing comes easy in this game and you just have to keep working hard and hope it pays off."

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