Niall Kearney carded his fourth under-par round of the week at the Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World in a top-30 finish that bodes well for the future as his 2020 season came to a close in the UAE.
The Royal Dublin professional signed off on a great performance around Jumeirah Estates Fire Course with a one-under par round of 71 for a 13-under par total. It was another fine ball-striking display from the 32-year old, who topped the greens in regulation stats for the week in Dubai. Although his short-stick didn’t behave like it had over the previous two days where rounds of 67 and 66 launched him up the leaderboard, there remained nothing but positives to take from the week for a delighted Kearney.
“I played pretty good – just the putter was a little bit cold today,” Kearney reflected. “I missed four putts from inside eight feet which would’ve been the difference between finishing a bit higher up the board compared to where I actually finished but looking back through the stats for the week against the field, there are a lot of positives to take. I finished first in greens in regulation which is a great sign. Driving was also very strong. I was averaging over 300 yards and finished eighth in driving accuracy so that’s all really positive.”
“Onwards and upwards now,” he added. “It looks like that’s going to be my last tournament of the year so I’ll make a plan going into the winter, see what the schedule is going to be like next year and get back to practicing and make sure I’m ready for whatever next season is going to bring.”
Playing opportunities on the Challenge Tour proved few and far between for Kearney as a result of Covid-19 this year but off limited starts, he’s been able to summon a golf game clearly capable of mixing it with the stars of the Main Tour. For his tied-30 finish, the Dubliner banked €7,545 but it will be the confidence gained from playing all four rounds and competing in Dubai that will prove most valuable ahead of winter training and another shot at the big time.
“I’ve a great buzz going after that week,” Kearney admitted. “I hit the ball really well, probably the best I’ve hit it and it was great to have Dad caddying for that. He’s caddied for me quite a bit over the last ten years or so – he loves it and we get on great so it was great to have him out for a nice week.
“Overall it was a great experience and it’s probably going to be a practice destination for me going forward as well – Jumeirah Club – we have access to it through our European Tour membership so it was great to see the place and the top class facilities that they have so it’s certainly an option going forward to get some sunshine and some quality practice done so yeah, very happy.”
Frenchman Antoine Rozner fired a stunning final round 64 to claim the title and the €160,342 first prize cheque. Rozner’s 25-under par tally eclipsed long-time leader, Andy Sullivan who shared second place alongside Matt Wallace, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Francesco Laporta.
- Full scoring HERE