Dermot McElroy’s Challenge Tour hopes took a hit after posting a four-over par 76 on the opening day of the EuroPro Tour Championship.
Looking to lock down his Challenge Tour card for next season, the 28-year old sits in a tie for 43rd overnight and will hope to make an impression on the leaderboard on Thursday with his place on the Order of Merit under pressure this week at Slaley Hall.
McElroy’s fate still lies in his own hands, sitting in fifth spot on the Order of Merit with the top-5 set to graduate to Europe’s secondary tour next year. However, the Ballymena man is just £1,462 ahead of sixth place Joe Dean who sits in a tie for sixth at Slaley Hall after a three-under opener.
With a bumper £25,000 going to the winner this week, it really is all to play for. And it’s not just the top five who will gain Challenge Tour status, with the next five players on the Order of Merit to a limit of 15th place, not otherwise exempt, from the final 2021 Order of Merit getting category 20 status.
Jack McDonald has taken an early one-shot lead after the opening round of the season-ending Matchroom Tour Championship, signing for a score of 67 for five under par on the Hunting Course.
McDonald of Kilmarnock (Barassie) had six birdies on the card that included going out for 34 whilst benefitting from a blemish-free back nine coming in for 33 with the Scotsman eyeing up a win that would seal a Challenge Tour card for the 2022 season. McDonald will begin his second round with his closet counterparts at four under in William Harrold and Curtis Knipes).
Four sit with an eye on McDonald’s second day whereabouts at the above-mentioned four under with Dan Brown (Romanby Golf Club) and David Wicks (Sedlescombe Golf Club) alongside Knipes (Chelmsford Golf Club) and Harrold (Sheringham Golf Club).
Harrold went out and in for 34 apiece to be in the final group come tomorrow morning. Knipes was four under through six but was halted at the par 4 ninth hole where he made bogey but recovered on the back nine where he made two further birdies before coming unstuck at the tricky 18th to be in the clubhouse for 67.
Wicks of Sedlescombe Golf Club made a quick start to his back nine* with a trio of birdies to help move him in the right direction whilst Brown put three birdies together in a blemish free back nine.