Ben Stow: I want to become one of the best

Lyle & Scott Golf ambassador is up for the challenge

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Submitted by Andy Roberts on

Hardly a week goes by without another fresh-faced Englishman appearing on the scene marked as one to watch, and Challenge Tour ace Ben Stow is no exception.

Earmarked for potential greatness following an electric start to his amateur career when landing the 2014 Brabazon Trophy (arguably the best amateur strokeplay event in the world), the former Kentucky Wildcat now applying his trade on the Challenge Tour is ready to purr on the main stage.

While yet to bag an elusive win on the second tier, Stow is beginning to fulfil his promise after a fine start to the 2016 Road to Oman season where he has picked up three top-10 finishes including a runner-up at the Challenge de Madrid in May.

The road from aspiring amateur to proven professional can often prove a bumpy ride, and that is something Stow experienced firsthand when missing out on qualifying for the Open by a solitary shot at Woburn last week.

But as a lifelong Newcastle fan, Stow is only too used to a rollercoaster season. 

"To miss out on playing in the Open by one shot is tough to take, but hey, let's go again next year," says Stow, who currently lies 13th in the Challenge Tour standings. 

And why would you not look at the positives when you currently occupy one of 15 available European Tour cards for 2017.

Sitting down with Stow at Lyle & Scott HQ in London, it is clear the man out of Rushmore Golf Club owns a maturity beyond his years. There is calmness and clarity about his words. 

"There are a lot of good things happening in my life right now, and the game is heading in the right direction.

"I have always worked hard on my chipping and I like to keep that sharp. My driving has been a little on and off recently so I'm working a lot on that.

"I just need to keep working hard and if I continue to do that, I believe I'm going to be in good shape."

While the short-term goal is to join Rory McIlroy and co on the European Tour, the biggest dream of all is to start climbing 494 rungs on the world ladder. 

"I want to become one of the best golfers that has ever lived," insists the current world number 495. "I want to win majors and win championships all over the world."

Asked whether his career has been inspired by Tiger Woods, he nods, smiles and then shuffles in his seat before revealing his main childhood hero. 

"Tiger is a hero of mine, but I look up to Padraig Harrington. I played with him in the final round of the Portugal Masters last year and that meant a lot to me. I just love his work ethic and how he gets the most out of his game."

Heading out to Royal Troon and the luxuries of an Open Championship may have been swapped for a low-budget flight to Penati Golf Resort and the Slovakia Challenge, but Stow is brimming with confidence as he heads into a four-week stretch of golf. 

"I'm really looking forward to the course in Slovakia this week as it's well suited to me. It's quite long and the greens are very undulating so I think that plays into my hands. I believe I have a very good chance of winning my first tournament very soon."

With 28 tournaments on the Challenge Tour season, spanning 22 countries and three continents, we asked Stow what living out a suitcase each week is really like.

"I only ever do four weeks in a row, but I must admit when I get to the fourth week, I'm in the hotel room thinking 'I'm ready to go home now.'

"However, I wouldn't change it for the world. I like to soak in the scenery when I'm away as some of the places we visit are beautiful, but at the same time it's important to find the right balance of relaxing and hitting the gym."

With the majority of golf courses playing an extra 1,000 yards longer than they did some 25 years ago, and all the additional travel, golf and media commitments that come with professional golf in 2016, Stow admits working on fitness is paramount to his life. 

"I try and get in the gym whenever I can - it's a big part of our routine these days. I stretch twice a day every day and I will spend a lot of time lifting and building up strength, especially in the winter."

Before we let Stow head off to the airport, we got him to delve deeper into his Callaway Tour bag and learn more about his smart new Lyle & Scott apparel. 

"I've had the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver in the bag since January and really like it. I've also recently added the XR 16 fairway wood, and I switch between a hybrid and 3-iron. Then I've got Apex Pro irons from 4-iron to pitching wedge, and Mack Daddy 3 wedges.

"My favourite club in the bag is my Odyssey 2-ball putter. I used the Fang version for a bit, but I've gone back to what I adore.

"As for my Lyle & Scott clothing, I cannot speak highly enough of the brand. It's been great to be involved with them for a number of years now. 

"For me, Lyle & Scott apparel has always possessed a clean and classy look about it. I am also a big fan of its tradition with the famous golden eagle."

Stow could not have chosen a more apt logo to pursue a golf career.

After all, he is aiming high and the sky is the limit. 

Ben Stow is a Lyle & Scott Golf ambassador. To see the new Lyle & Scott Golf Autumn/Winter range go to www.lyleandscott.com