MATT Southgate believes he has started the new PGA European Tour campaign in better form than ever before.

Southgate followed up impressive displays at the Maybank Championship and Omega Dubai Desert Classic by finishing in joint ninth place at the NBO Oman Open.

And the Southend-born Thorpe Hall Golf Club member is hoping to build on that fine performance when the Commerical Bank Qatar Masters gets underway today.

Southgate, 29, said: “My game is in great shape, so I will just look to fine tune the positives taken from last week and try very hard to get myself back in contention as soon as possible.

“As soon as the gun goes today, I will just try to execute each shot as it comes with 100 per cent commitment and focus.

“I will see where that takes me, but I feel confident about how I am playing and hope that I can finish the first trip of my 2018 season in a positive way.

“This is the best golf I have ever played to open a season, so I can play this week with the relaxed mindset that I am heading in the right direction and shooting better scores at this time of year than ever before, which will have a great impact on my final position in the rankings come the end of the season.”

Although Southgate was pleased with his performance in Oman, he admitted that he was disappointed not to hold on to the joint lead he boasted going into the final round.

Southgate was at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final 18 holes, but was unable to remain at the NBO Oman Open summit.

“I felt my performance was to a very high level considering it is only the start of the season,” added Southgate.

“I think the scores I shot in the first three rounds completely reflected the work I have been putting in off the course, and it is always rewarding to see the work paying off.

“I was definitely disappointed to have dropped down to ninth, but the experience is something money can’t buy and what I learnt on Sunday will play a huge part in the outcome the next time I get a chance to win an event.”

And Southgate was delighted to follow up his first ever professional tour hole-in-one at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with another in Oman.

Southgate confirmed: “It was amazing to get another hole-in-one.

“This is my eighth year on the pro tour and I had never achieved a hole-in-one, so to have two turn up in such a short space of time is completely bizarre.

“But it’s always an amazing feeling for any golfer and a lovely surprise.”