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Wolverhampton's Aaron Rai living the American dream on the PGA Tour

Wolverhampton golf star Aaron Rai says it is ‘a dream come true’ to be competing among superstars of the game on the US PGA tour.

Aaron Rai, of England, hits off the 11th tee during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament, Thursday, May 5, 2022, at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm golf club in Potomac, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass).
Aaron Rai, of England, hits off the 11th tee during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament, Thursday, May 5, 2022, at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm golf club in Potomac, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass).

The 26-year-old, who is in his first season on the American tour, has been in excellent form in recent weeks and last month recorded his highest finish to date in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a tied fourth spot.

He backed that up with a stunning five-under-par first round of 65 in the Wells Fargo Championship at the TPC Potomac course near Washington DC on Thursday night.

That put him two shots behind leader Jason Day going into last night’s second round for the tournament which has a £1.3million first prize. And the former Wolverhampton Grammar School pupil – currently sitting 75th in golf’s Fed Ex Cup standings for the top earners on tour, said it is ‘amazing’ to be taking on the challenge of playing against the world’s greatest golfers on a regular basis.

He said in an interview with Sky Sports: “The most fun part is playing all of these courses that I would have aspired to growing up, that I would have seen on TV for countless years and it lives up the the expectation that I would have had before. It really is incredible and competing against the best players week-in, week-out pretty much is amazing. It really is a dream come true.”

However, he admits the are sacrifices to be made as he attempts to cement himself as a regular at the top end of the leaderboards at the big tournaments on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Those things do come with a challenge and a test, which is adapting to a new country and living out of a suitcase,” added Rai.

“I’m adapting to courses out here, staying on top of my game a lot more over the course of a year week-in, week-out, day-in, day-out regardless of whether we’re in a tournament or not.

“So the demands of time, the demands of practice and event he demands of physical working out to try to stay in shape to support the level of practice required has all kind of gone up so a lot of work, but it’s amazing – enjoying the challenge of just being out here.”

In terms of this weekend’s competition, Rai is relishing the competition at the TPC Potomac.

“It’s a great track this week, the rough’s thick,” he said.

“There’s some strong par fours, we’ve only got a couple of par fives, and the second hole is out of reach so there’s a premium on putting yourself in position off the tee and a premium on your second shots as well so it demands quite a good all-round game because the greens are quite fast also.

“You need to put it in the right spots and you’re going to missed greens around here and try to get up and down around at times.

“I’ve pretty much covered every base of golf right there which I think is pretty much required round here this week but definitely the long game is the most important.”

And he is equally pleased with his own game, adding: “It’s felt good, it has been a little hit and miss over the course of the season but certainly over the last six weeks or so the game has been pretty solid,

“I’m starting to shape the ball better both ways, control flights and I’ve been driving it well off the tee so it’s felt pretty good over the last few weeks overall.”

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