Opportunity knocks for leading pros at PGA Play-Offs


David Higgins after victory in the Irish PGA Championship at Carne Golf Links in 2021 (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

The PGA Play-Offs get underway at PGA National Slieve Russell on Tuesday with 21 PGA members vying for lucrative DP World Tour and Challenge Tour starts at the £25,000 three-day event.

The PGA Play-Offs were launched in 2006, providing the top-3 players from each region with the chance to earn playing opportunities on golf’s main tours.

Rustington Golf Centre’s Michael Bullen prevailed at the last staging of the event held in 2019 with victory opening doors to a whole host of opportunities, including multi-million pound prize funds at the Betfred British Masters and the BMW PGA Championship as Bullen chased his tour dream.

He missed the cut first up at The Belfry but Bullen bounced back at Wentworth with a tied-37th result at the DP World Tour’s flagship event, making experience count and collecting a cheque worth €38,405, all thanks to his earlier success at the Play-Offs.

“I missed by one in the Play-Offs the year before, so getting into the PGA was always a big goal of mine,” Bullen said.

“The week at Wentworth confirmed that I’m good enough. Making the cut has given me that extra bit of confidence and belief that that’s where I’m meant to be, that’s where I’m meant to play.”

This year’s field taking on the stunning Co Cavan parkland at Slieve Russell can aspire to obtain similar levels of exposure should they produce under the gun at this week’s event.

From an Irish perspective, last year’s Irish PGA Order of Merit winner David Higgins takes his chance with Tulfarris’ Simon Thornton and Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick completing the home line-up.

As well as a slice of the £25,000 prize fund on offer, further possible riches loom at the following DP World starts:

BMW PGA Championship – 1 spot
British Masters – 2 spots
Irish Open – 1 spot
Cazoo Open – 3 spots
ISPS Handa World Invitational – 1 spot
Cazoo Classic – 3 spots
Scottish Hero Open – 3 spots

PGA of South Africa PGA Championship – 1 spot

And if further incentive was needed, the leading three eligible players from the 2022 PGA Play-Offs will automatically qualify for the 2022 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team, providing the individuals meet the criteria for entry to the PGA Cup at all times.

In the event of a tie for the final place, a ‘hole-by-hole’ play-off will be held to determine team places.

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