Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell is eyeing a big showing at next week’s Irish Challenge as he looks to make the most of another start on Europe’s secondary tour from July 28-31.
The Dubliner has enjoyed a limited number of Challenge Tour starts this season, the best of which came at the Scottish Challenge where he shared fifth place at Newmacher Golf Club back in May.
Purcell fired a brilliant five-under par round of 67 to sign off on a T24 finish at the Euram Bank Open on Sunday and returns to action at this week’s German Challenge looking to move up on the Road to Mallorca standings where he currently sits 75th.
His Irish Challenge invite arrives courtesy of his Team Ireland standing, and as opportunity knocks once more at the K Club, Purcell is determined to answer its call.
“It’s huge to get these chances,” says Purcell, who has also shone on the Alps Tour this season where he sits inside the top-20 on the Order of Merit.
“I think the biggest thing when you first turn pro is getting all the opportunities that you can. When I turned pro, I never played the official Q-School that year so having some invites to play your way into some status on the tour is really helpful.
“It feels like I’m restarting a bit this year so any chance I can get is really important.”
Now 25, Purcell turned professional at the worst possible time, transitioning to the paid ranks at the end of 2019, mere months before Covid struck and decimated his playing opportunities as a result.
“It was obviously a little bit frustrating but there were plenty of people in the same boat and a lot more in worse positions so you always have to take a minute to step back and realise that it’s not the end of the world,” Purcell says.
That patient approach has reaped rewards with some encouraging results this year and now Purcell will be hoping to build on that momentum, back at a familiar venue on Palmer South that will also host the tournament in 2024 and 2026.
“I’ve played it a couple of times in little one day competitions,” Purcell recalls, whose first professional victory arrived in the Irish Golfer Shootout on the Palmer North in July 2020.
“Both courses at the K Club are just really good and I’m sure it’s going to be in great condition at that time of year too. It’s massive to have the event on the calendar and back at the K Club three of the next five years.”
With the K Club just thirty minutes from Dublin, Purcell will also enjoy home comforts for the week, an added morale boost that he believes can only help his play.
“Any time you get to play in your home country is a big deal, whether it’s the Irish Challenge or the Irish Open, everyone looks forward to playing at home,” he says.
“We should get some nice support out there which is always motivating. And hopefully I’ll be staying in my own bed which is an added bonus too!”
Admission to the K Club to watch the stars of the future at the Irish Challenge is absolutely free.
- Register for tickets HERE