Open 2016: How Ryan Evans answered calling to become professional golfer

Ryan Evans
Ryan Evans playing a bunker shot at Royal Troon during a practice round
Venue: Royal Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland Dates: 14-17 July
Coverage: Listen live on Radio 5 live, follow live text on the BBC Sport website from Thursday. Highlights on BBC Two and online. Click here for full details

Ryan Evans was working as a telephone sales operator in a call centre in Corby when professional golf first noticed him.

From selling Avon Cosmetics products for a living, the young man from Northamptonshire decided the time was right to have a serious go at becoming a golf pro.

It was in 2014 when he had his 'Ding Dong' moment and he got 'the call' to leave Avon and concentrate on golf.

So far, after a solid first year on the Challenge Tour since stepping up to win his card for the main European Tour, the sweet smell of success has eluded him.

But his presence in Ayrshire for the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon has got him sniffing the future with a lot more optimism.

"I can't wait," the 29-year-old European Tour rookie from Corby told BBC Sport. "My first Open. My first major. How could you not be excited?"

From dead-end job to threshold of a dream

"I was working in a call centre in Corby. It was a dead-end job going nowhere.

"So I decided to pull my finger out, concentrate on golf and see if could get anywhere. I took a year's leave from work.

"I've heard it all - 'Ding Dong, Avon ladies'. But I've now got a chance to write my own history.

"I feel I appreciate playing the game more, given where I was. If I miss the cut, it's still better than being sat in the office looking out of the window, wishing I was playing golf."

Making the step up to the Tour

Ryan Evans
Evans hits a shot during a practice round before the Dubai Desert Classic

"I had just two missed cuts in 17 events on the Challenge Tour last year. I just missed out on getting my main tour card but then went to tour school and got in that way.

"It's not quite worked out yet and I can't really understand why. My putting average last year per round was 29.8. This year it's 31, yet I don't think I've putted that badly.

"But there have been encouraging signs over the last couple of weeks and it would be nice to take that form into this week."

How to handle an Open links course

Not only has Evans never played in a major before, until he headed south from the Scottish Open on Sunday to play his first practice round on Monday, he had not played at either of the Open's two famous Ayrshire links venues - Royal Troon and Turnberry.

"I played a lot of links as an amateur," said Evans, whose golfing base is Wellingborough. "But we hardly play it now on tour.

Royal Troon
The Royal Troon course is situated next to the Firth of Clyde

"Getting into the Scottish Open at the last minute to play links golf in a world-class field at Castle Stuart, and in poor weather too, will hold me in good stead.

"It gave me the chance to get my ball-flighting under control and practise hitting the different sort of shots you want to hit in links golf.

"My aim is to play nine holes every day leading up to Thursday. Some guys get excited and might play 18, 18, 18 and be worn out by the time it starts. I just want to stay fit and fresh, rather than over-practise."

Evans out in last group at Royal Troon

Kettering-born Evans has been handed a late tee time on his Open Championship debut, having been paired in the final group with fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin and South African Zander Lombard at 16:16 BST.

Evans shot eight under par over two rounds to earn one of the three places on offer from Final Qualifying at Woburn in June.

He starts in 170th position in the Race To Dubai, the European Tour's money list. His tie for 54th at the Scottish Open, having been only the sixth time he has played all four rounds in 15 events this season, taking his year's earnings to 52,462 euros.

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