STOCKSFIELD golfer Chris Paisley returned home this week, to celebrate three weeks of unprecedented sporting triumphs with his family and friends.

The 31-year-old was taking a well-earned break from the rigours of the European Tour after tournaments in South Africa and the Middle East gave him his first victory, earned him 378,000 euros in prize money and catapulted him to number 82 in the world rankings.

“It feels great to be back home,” said Chris. “The reception I’ve received from everybody has been amazing, and I’m grateful for all the support.

“I will enjoy a few days rest, but next week I will be back into my practice because there is lots to play for in the coming months.”

Chris now has sights on reaching the world’s top 50 next month, which would earn him a tilt at the prestigious US Masters in Augusta.

He is currently fifth in the European Tour’s order of merit, and if his excellent form continues, he could even make the European team in September’s Ryder Cup.

He won the South African Open on January 14, and followed it up with two consecutive top five finishes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The South African champion was at Hexham Golf Club on Wednesday, where his older brother, Andy Paisley, is head professional, and also Chris’s putting coach.

Chris was joined by his American wife, Keri, who famously caddied for her husband during the emphatic win in Johannesburg.

“It’s nice to reflect on the past few weeks,” he said. “It has been surreal having the attention on me, and being congratulated by great golfers such as Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els.

“It was incredible to share the win with Keri, because she played a big part in it.

“I was determined to continue my good form after such a big result in South Africa. I made a concerted effort to, because I didn’t want that to be the defining moment of the year.”

Keri said: “I am just so pleased for Chris because I know what it means to him.

“People see him on TV, but behind the scenes he’s getting up at 6am to do stretching and work-outs. He’s converted our garage into a gym, and he works all hours on his golf game.”