Dubliner Paul McBride is relishing the opportunity to compete on home soil when the Irish Challenge visits Portmarnock Links from May 27-30.
The tournament returns to the Road to Mallorca International Schedule in 2021 and will take place on a links course for the first time in the event’s history at the prestigious Portmarnock Links, located just outside Dublin City with breath-taking views over the famous five-mile Velvet Strand.
McBride made only one Challenge Tour start in 2020 but has been keeping sharp by playing on the Alps Tour and is excited by the prospect of teeing it up in Dublin later this month.
“It’s great to have a Challenge Tour event in Ireland,” he said. “I’ve played a few events now in Ireland since I turned pro. This year’s event at Portmarnock Links is only five minutes from where I live so it’s great to have it on the schedule.
“We have such a great array of golf courses in Ireland and it’s great to be able to showcase them. This one will showcase everything that people stereotypically know Ireland for.”
Set in the grounds of the old Jameson Estate St Marnocks, the Championship course at Portmarnock Links was designed by two-time Masters Champion and former World Number One Bernhard Langer and traverses the famous North Dublin dunes, a natural terrain to please the most ardent of links purists.
It will provide a true test of golf to the stars of the Challenge Tour and McBride believes it is incomparable to any other course on the Road to Mallorca.
“It’s going to be different. It all depends on the conditions,” he said. “If it’s calm, it plays completely different to if there’s wind.
“Portmarnock Links is a great links, it really is. You can’t really compare it to any other course on the Challenge Tour because we don’t play anything like it. It is a proper links golf course; there’s no half-links. It’s fully on the coast, there’s hills, there’s undulations and it’s firm and fast. It’s a really good course.
“You’d love to win the Irish Challenge. You’d love to win anytime on the Challenge Tour, I wouldn’t mind if it was in Italy, France, wherever, I’d like to win one way or another. If I had to pick, I’d pick Ireland but I’m certainly not limiting it to just that.”
The Irish Challenge is the sixth event on the 2021 Road to Mallorca International Schedule, which comprises 26 tournaments in 16 countries across the world. The top 20 players on the Road to Mallorca Rankings at the conclusion of the Challenge Tour Grand Final at T-Golf & Country Club, Mallorca, will earn full playing privileges on the European Tour in 2022.