HAMPSHIRE’S Scott Gregory turned professional a month ago, but there was one more accolade in his spectacular amateur career when he was named Europe’s number one player in 2017 (writes Andrew Griffin).

The Walker Cup ace has won the European Golf Association’s gold medal after topping the 2017 rankings ahead of Scotland’s Connor Syme and Maximilian Schmitt of Germany.

The Corhampton member, who picked up the biggest cheque of his fledgling career in his third appearance on the European Tour at the Dunhill Links two weeks ago, earning nearly €17,000, said: “Any time you can top an order of merit, it shows that you have played consistently. And for me that’s what it’s about. If I can top an order of merit every year of my career, I will be a very successful player.

“This is of the same importance as winning the England Golf Order of Merit in 2016– it says you have performed consistently and it’s a great way to sign off an amateur career, together with the Walker Cup appearance.”

Gregory, 23, spent the last three years as a member of England Golf’s A and national squads and featured in a series of individual and team triumphs.

Among them was his win in the 2016 Amateur Championship, earning him starting places in the 2016 Open at Royal Troon, the 2017 Masters at Augusta, and the US Open at Erin Hills last June. He was also invited to play in the 2016 British Masters on the European Tour and played a Challenge Event as an amateur.

Before his Masters debut, he beat Maverick McNealy in the Georgia Cup – the annual contest between the US and British Amateur Champions.

Gregory also helped England win silver medals at both the World Amateur Team Championships in Mexico last year and the European Amateur Team Championships in Austria this summer.

Gregory turned pro within a week of returning from the USA, having performed well on the final day of the Walker Cup.

Having also reached an all-time high of No 5 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, he automatically moves through to the second stage of the European Tour qualifying school which gets underway in Spain next month.

Looking back on his meteoric rise since 2013, when he was fighting just to earn a starting place in the Hampshire first team, Gregory said: “It’s been an incredible journey and I was fortunate enough to spend my last three years as an amateur with England Golf.

“The support, coaching and guidance I have received has been incredible and I know it stands all of us in good stead when we make the switch to the paid ranks.

“I would like to say thank-you to England Golf for all of their hard work and belief in me over the past three years.”