Ah, that winning feeling, eh? “I remember on the Sunday evening not sleeping a wink,” reflected Ewen Ferguson, has he mulled over his maiden victory on the DP World Tour in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters a year past March.

“I was just sat at the desk all night. I couldn’t believe it.” It sounds a bit like this tortured correspondent desperately trying to drum up an idea for my Tuesday golf column.

Ferguson is back in his happy hunting ground this week to defend that title in the final regular event of the old European circuit’s 2023 season.

While his fellow Glaswegians, Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren, face a nail-nibbling few days as they scramble to cling on to their tour cards, Ferguson has pitched up in Doha eager for more delight in the desert.

Inspiration is not hard to find. “I’m in the same hotel this week as last year and coming back to the course, seeing my name there and the pictures of me with the trophy is really cool,” he added of the fixtures and fittings that all help to boost the morale. “It’s quite emotional and hopefully I can play really well this week and have a chance to defend it.”

The way he won his first tour title will remain in his memory for a long, long time as he conjured the kind of rousing late flourish that could’ve been accompanied by the 20th Century Fox fanfare.

“I remember with three holes to play thinking ‘I’m in the top five here, it’s a good chance to keep my card early in the season’,” recalled Ferguson of his initial goal before his burst for the line moved, well, those goalposts.

“I then hit it over the back on the short par-4 16th and chipped in, tied for the lead, then holed that putt (a 15-footer) at the end. It was incredible. That’s what it takes to win tournaments. You notice every week when someone wins there’s always something special that happens. That moment on 16 and the putt on the last were my moments.”

Ferguson has arrived in Qatar in decent fettle, having reeled off a 10th, a ninth and a 13th in three of his last four events. Being the defending champion doesn’t faze him one bit. “You guys make more of a deal of it than us,” said the 27-year-old with a chuckle. “When I stand over my first tee-shot I’ll be thinking, ‘where am I aiming, what am I doing?’ I’m not thinking, ‘I’m defending’.”

Ferguson, who would go on to add another tour crown to his collection in Northern Ireland later in 2022, currently sits in 43rd spot on the circuit’s rankings and is set to qualify for the cash-drenched end-of-season bonanza in Dubai for the second year in a row.

Having served his apprenticeship on the second-tier Challenge Tour, Ferguson finally earned promotion at the end of 2021. His subsequent acceleration to a double champion on the main tour during a thrilling rookie campaign just about left scorch marks on his clubs.

“I didn’t think I was ready to win that early and it all happened quite quickly for me,” he said of a rapid rise which saw him triumph in just his 37th start on the main tour.

“When you win, your expectations change. I finished 20th somewhere earlier this year and went back to the range and was saying I need to get better. But two years ago I’d have been delighted with that. It’s all a mindset thing. Mine is looking even further now.”

As for the aforementioned Warren and Jamieson? Well, they both need to mount a final offensive to haul themselves inside the safety zone of the leading 116 on the rankings and preserve their full playing rights for 2024.

Warren, a four-time champion on the circuit down the years, is just five points from salvation in 117th spot while Jamieson, whose sole tour victory arrived back in 2012, is back in 119th place.

The 40-year-old, who has held a tour card for 13 consecutive seasons, dropped out of the top 116 for the first time this year after a damaging missed cut in the Andalucia Masters last week.

It was his ninth early exit in his last 13 events. Jamieson, and Warren, can’t afford another premature departure in Qatar this weekend.