Kearney heads Irish challenge in Czech Republic

Ronan MacNamara
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Kearney heads Irish challenge in Czech Republic

Niall Kearney (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Niall Kearney is the standout name in an eight-strong Irish contingent as the Challenge Tour heads to the Kaskada Golf Challenge in the Czech Republic. 

The Dubliner is joined by Tom McKibbin, Conor Purcell, James Sugrue, Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan, Robin Dawson and Charlie Williams at Kaskada Golf Resort in Brno. 

Kearney has not played much Challenge Tour golf this season but makes the step down to the second-tier while the DP World Tour has a week off for the US Open. 

The former Walker Cup player has been in good form again this season in his limited starts on the top-tier with a top-15 finish at last month’s Soudal Open where he was in contention before a final round 73 saw his challenge fade. 

Tom McKibbin has cooled off after his electric start to the season and has fallen to 37th in the Road to Mallorca Rankings after four missed cuts in a row. 

Last week’s missed cut at the D+D Real Czech Challenge will have stung after an opening 67 looked as if it had brought the Holywood teenager back into form. 

The 19-year-old already has his first professional win under his belt at a Minor Golf League event in Florida at the start of the year and that propelled him onto third and seventh place finishes in the first two tournaments on the Challenge Tour. 

It has been a tough first two years as professional golfers for Conor Purcell and James Sugrue with their progress severely hampered by the Covid pandemic although there have been green shoots for both in recent weeks. 

Portmarnock’s Purcell broke inside the top-1000 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time following a fifth place finish at the Scottish Challenge last month while he has also been in great form on the Alps Tour, reeling off five top-20 finishes including a fifth and seventh place. 

No doubt James Sugrue will have one eye on the Amateur Championship in Royal Lytham this week with as many as eleven Irish players qualifying for the matchplay stages looking to become the first Irishman since the Mallow native in 2019 to lift the trophy. 

After three missed cuts in a row, Sugrue came back to form with a fifth-place finish on the Alps Tour last week. It’s all about finding consistency for the former Walker Cupper who had another top-10 finish on the Alps before that run of missed cuts. 

Gavin Moynihan is looking to make his first cut in ten attempts while Tramore’s Robin Dawson has slowly started to find his feet as a professional on the mini tours while Paul Dunne is still searching for some form after his return from two years of injury hell. 

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