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Purcell powers into weekend on pro debut at New South Wales Open

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Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell rekindled his love affair with Australia in a back-nine birdie blitz that turned his fortunes around at the AVJennings New South Wales Open at Twins Creeks Golf and Country Club.

This year’s Australian Amateur Champion returned to the land Down Under on invite to tee off his professional career just west of Sydney without a management company or any sort of status but where uncertainty may lie off the golf course, Purcell looked assured on it, firing a five-under par round of 67 to banish the memories of an opening 74.

The 22-year old son of PGA Professional Joey Purcell looked in trouble through nine holes this morning, swapping two bogeys with a birdie to fall to three-over par for the tournament.

However, if you were looking for a snapshot of the fledgling pro’s credentials, a player who rose to as high as 10th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, the Dubliner provided it with six birdies in a brilliant blemish-free homeward half of 30 that saw Purcell home in 67, his three-under par 36-hole tally good enough for a share of 34th heading into the weekend.

Whatever happens over the next two days at the $400,000 event, the confidence gained from a first pro cut made should leave Purcell in good stead when he joins some of the world’s best players at next week’s $1.5 million Australian Open with Adam Scott, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Louie Oosthuizen all confirmed in a stunning line-up for the Emirates sponsored event.

As for this week, he’ll have work to do to chase down Australian Andrew Dodt who leads in New South Wales after he fired the best round in his 12 year professional career – an 11-under par 61 – to move to 14-under.

“When they all added up, they added up to 61. That’s the best round in my career so far. I knew the conditions were going to be user-friendly this morning so I wanted to take real advantage of that,” Dodt said.

“I got off to a pretty good start, and then sort of got hot around the turn. I made a few birdies and an eagle at 11 and then I started getting a bit nervy because I thought ‘I’m getting pretty hot here’.

“I thought I had to make two coming in because I didn’t really know what I was but I didn’t give myself great chances on the last three holes. All in all it was a great day’s work.”

Full scoring HERE

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