Mallow man James Sugrue is excited to make his long-awaited professional debut at the Range Servant Challenge by Hinton Golf, which takes place at Hinton Golf Club, Malmö, from May 13-16.
The 2019 Amateur Champion’s last competitive start was at the 2020 Masters Tournament after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic put paid to many of the benefits that come with winning The Amateur Championship.
The 22-year-old wrote his name into amateur golf’s record books when he defeated Scotland’s Euan Walker, who is also in the field this week, at Portmarnock Golf Club in 2019 and he is now eager to begin the next chapter of his career in the professional ranks.
“Everyone knows what comes with winning The Amateur; three Majors and a couple of other ones that I couldn’t attend because of Covid,” he said. “When I won back in June 2019, Covid wasn’t around and it’s definitely affected me. I thought my experiences would be a lot different. It would have been nice to have family and friends there but still, I really enjoyed it and still had a great time. I’m just excited to start my professional career here this week.
“I’m going to try and do the same things I’ve been doing my whole life, golf-wise. I won’t be thinking into it too much. People have said that things will change when I’m playing for money but I don’t think anyone is successful if they’re thinking over a putt ‘I better hole this for however much’. I’m just going to try and do what I’ve been doing for my whole career.”
It has been a long winter for the man from Cork, Ireland, but he has worked diligently with his coach ahead of his professional debut and is now hoping to compete without expectation.
“I’ve never been a big man for setting goals. I’ve practiced hard and trained hard through the winter. When clubs were closed in Ireland, myself and my coach did a lot of work. I haven’t had a card in my pocket since November at the Masters but I can’t wait to get going.
“I don’t have a goal this week at all. I’m not going to say I want to win, or finish in the top ten or 20. I just want to play my golf and see where it leaves me at the end of the week.”
The Range Servant Challenge by Hinton Golf marks the European Challenge Tour’s return to European soil after the South African Swing and is the first of back-to-back events on Swedish soil.
Sugrue will be joined in Sweden by Road to Mallorca Rankings leader Wilco Nienaber, who won last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am, and four-time European Tour winner Matteo Manassero, who tees it up for the first time this season.
The action will begin at 7:30am local time on Thursday May 13, with Sugrue playing alongside Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson and four-time European Tour winner Marcel Siem at 8:30am.