CANVEY rookie Charlie Clare today begins a journey he hopes will take him all the way to the European Tour.

The former Cornelius Vermuryden School pupil officially turns pro this morning after cutting his teeth as an amateur at the Boyce Hill club in Benfleet for 12 years.

The 20-year-old will play in his first pro event at the Tournament Players Series at Denham Golf Club, Buckinghamshire, on March 16.

The one-handicapper will pit his wits against a field of about 120 containing players who have competed at the highest level and other promising rookies.

Ian Dudman, Clare’s coach and a professional golfer himself, says his young charge has the natural ability to succeed at the top of the game.

He said: “We have a two-year game plan for Charlie where we want to get him some experience.

“Now that he has joined the professional ranks we want to bring him through and hopefully get him on the European Tour.

“I have coached him since he was nine and he has the game and the belief in his ability to go all the way.”

Dudman said Clare would like to emulate the success of other local golfing stars such as Thorpe Hall’s Matthew Southgate and Richard McEvoy, who are both competing on this season’s Eurpean Tour.

Dudman said: “He knows Matt and Richard, and has spoken to them about the game.

“But Charlie believes in his own ability, so hopefully he can follow in their footsteps and maybe even go beyond what they have achieved.

“He looks up to the likes of Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy and hopefully, one day, he can go head-to-head with them.”

> Clare is sponsored by Golf Band and will wear Ian Poulter-branded clothing this season.

> If any other companies want to sponsor him please email or call Ian Dudman on 07968 695573.