OVER in China this week there will be a golfer from County Durham playing in his final competition of the year as the curtain comes down on a fantastic season.

Callum Tarren will tee off in the Asian Golf Championship at the Xiamen Kaikou Golf Club looking for his second triumph of 2017 and that could yet earn him a place on the European Tour for next year.

Regardless of what happens over the next few days, Tarren has made massive progress.

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If he could follow up his victory at the Jiangsu Open – his maiden Tour success a few weeks ago – there is a chance he will have toppled South Korean Rak Hyun Cho at the top of the China Tour Series’ Order of Merit.

Tarren said: “Well it’s been a strange year in regards to the Tour over here.

“The contract with the PGA Tour expired at the end of 2016 and wasn’t renewed with the China Golf Association for 2017, so the China Tour took over in 2017.

“They signed a deal with European Tour and Asian Tour, meaning the Order of Merit winner and only the winner this year gets a European Tour card. The top five on the list get exemption into final stage of Asian Tour School.

“Therefore my goal has been to get that top spot. I have closed the gap on the order of merit leader over the last few weeks. So I am in touching distance but realistically I’m going to need a win in one of the last two events to give myself the best chance.”

Tarren, attached to Rockliffe Hall where he plays when he is back home in Darlington, took the bold move last year to head for the Far East to try to develop his career, having decided the Tour scene was where he wanted to end up.

The 26-year-old has embraced the experience and has shown his strength of character to achieve what he has, and dreams of fulfilling his final goal to make it on to the European stage he craves – after missed out at Qualifying School earlier this month in Spain.

Tarren said: “It’s tough been away for long stints at a time. With the logistical problems of the two tours clashing this year scheduling has been bunched together especially at the back end of the year.

“But China is a very different place to what we are used to.

“The golf courses are usually pretty good. Food can be difficult at times but you just have to adapt and get on with it all. It breaks some people.

“Yeah I’m absolutely delighted with how things have gone. After having a strong 2016 out in China I was raring to go again in 2017. I was hungrier and wanted more success out here.”

At the beginning of November, Tarren achieved what he had threatened to by winning the Jiangsu Open after finishing a shot clean of China’s Yi Cao.

That followed a third at the Pure Pu’Er Tea Classic, second in the Shenzhou Peninsula Classic as well as the PGA Tour China Clearwater Bay Hong Kong. He was also fourth in the Hunnan Open and finished tenth and fifth in co-sanctioned Challenge Tour events.

He said: “I would say I hoped this would happen after my 2016 season. I managed to finish my 2016 very strong and thought that I could build on that which I have done. Over the last two seasons I’ve been knocking on the door for a win. And it finally came at the Jiangsu Open which I was delighted with.”

When Tarren returns to the region in the New Year he will be fine tuning his game at Rockliffe Hall, where he was working before heading to China, and he will meet up regularly with Stuart Parnaby

The former former Middlesbrough defender has his own business, Parnaby Performance, and is working with Tarren as a specialist fitness coach.

“I work with Parn when I’m home, I see him two, three or even four times a week, it really helps,” said Tarren. “When I’m away he is always sending me videos and stuff to be doing and working on. It’s benefited me.

“I started working with Parn in January this year and he’s been fantastic for me. We have ironed out a few minor injuries/niggles and I worked diligently with him. I’m grateful I have someone like Stuart to work with because he is also a great guy.

“It’s all been going great. I have earned some decent money and that is much needed when you take the China gamble. For me this is just the start. My goal to get on the European Tour and compete at the highest level.”