A strong final round from Conor Purcell saw the Portmarnock man join fellow Dublin native Paul McBride in progressing to the Second Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School.
Purcell started the final round at the First Stage qualifier in Kannapolis, North Carolina outside the top-20 bubble that would move on to the next round, but produced a sparkling four-under 67 to move himself into a tie for 19th at nine-under overall.
Knowing he needed to go low to move on, Purcell responded well to a bogey at the fourth with three straight birdies at his next three holes to pull himself up the leaderboard, and he only strengthened his position with further birdies at 12 and 13.
A birdie at the 17th sealed his progression when he moved into the comfortable position of 10-under, meaning a bogey at his closing hole wasn’t to cost him as he booked his place in the Second Stage.
He’ll be joined there by McBride, who was already comfortably inside the top-20 in third on the leaderboard at 12-under heading into the final day and knew that a risk-free final round would ensure his progression – which he did with a second consecutive level-par 71 at The Club at Irish Creek.
When The Island man turned in one-under after a front nine that featured just one birdie and eight pars, his spot in the next stage was practically rubber-stamped, which meant that a slightly rockier back nine of three bogeys and two birdies was of little consequence.
The pair will join Holywood teenager Tom McKibbin in the Second Stage, which will be contested later this month at five different venues, with the three Irishmen determining where they will play in the coming days now the fields have been finalised.
Unfortunately they will not be joined in the next round by Paul Murphy, who failed to progress from the First Stage qualifier in West Palm Beach, Florida as he finished in a tie for 48th.
Starting the day at three-over and needing to ultimately get to seven-under to keep his Tour hopes alive, it was always going to be a remarkably tall order for the Irishman to join his fellow countrymen in moving on.
Murphy did himself credit with a one-under 71 in his final round – mixing five birdies with four bogeys – to end his week two-over, however his hopes of reaching the Korn Ferry Tour has come to an end for this year.
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