Refreshed Foley hoping to rise to the challenge in Sweden

Ronan MacNamara
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Refreshed Foley hoping to rise to the challenge in Sweden

Hugh Foley (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Hugh Foley admits he is looking for more consistency abroad as he makes his third Challenge Tour start at the Indoor Golf Group Challenge in Sweden. 

The Clontarf native has won four majors in three years leaving the door open for a potential Walker Cup call up next year and he is targeting more consistency in Europe next season to earn a maiden appearance for Great Britain and Ireland. 

A quarter-final defeat to John Gough – whose father hails from Co. Meath – in the Spanish Amateur was followed by a podium finish in the Scottish Open but he was outshone by his compatriots in the Lytham, Brabazon, St Andrews and Amateur Championships. 

“My performances at home were a lot better, played in five events and played well in all five. I didn’t want to take away from what I did abroad, third in Scotland, quarter-finals in Spain I just went through a bad two or three week patch which I think happened to be when there were good events abroad but I felt in general had I not been going through technique changes at that stage that might not have happened.  

“So I’m hoping next year I can play more consistently. I don’t feel like I need to do much more just time it, peak at the right times and improve the short game and scoring clubs for more consistency next year, looking forward to some winter practice on that.” 

Foley’s previous two Challenge Tour invites came at the Big Green Egg Challenge in Germany last year and the Irish Challenge last month, both missed cuts after a gruelling amateur schedule. 

The Dubliner travelled to Germany after winning the West of Ireland Championship and his invite to the Irish Challenge at the K Club came after back-to-back wins at the North and South of Ireland. 

This time, the Royal Dublin golfer arrives in Allerum Golf Club, Helsingborg mentally and physically refreshed after a 20th hole defeat to Quentin Carew in the Irish Close final in Headfort a fortnigt ago. 

“I emailed looking for an invite a couple of months ago. I wasn’t guaranteed an invite to the Irish Challenge so I just emailed and just wrote down amateur and my credentials and achievements to push for one and I got in that way,” explained the 25-year-old who won the Bridgestone Order of Merit. 

“Energy levels are better so that’s good. I went into both just enjoying myself and not worried too much about scores and stuff like that. I was able to prepare better for this one and my plan is to just play it as if it’s a normal event, the same, 

“Obviously the standard is up and it’s consistently up across the leaderboard compared to amateur events but I still think if you play well you can shoot good scores and do well. At the end of the day you’re still playing a golf course. Trying not to big it up too much.” 

The 195th ranked amateur in the world put in some hard work with long-time coach Geoff Loughrey before flying out to Sweden to iron out the tweaks the pair had made and to put in the preparation, he feels he wasn’t afforded in his previous two starts on Europe’s second-tier. 

“My game feels good. Did a bit of work with Geoff Loughrey the day after the Close final in Headfort. I was pretty tired but knew I was flying out early so that was great to work on that for the last few days and hopefully straighten it up a bit. 

“Feeling good about the game and see what happens. I like to get out early when I’m playing abroad and prepare and acclimatise. Your body isn’t comfortable when it’s in new places so just get there early to acclimatise to surroundings so by the time the first round comes around, you’re ready to go. The preparation is the same for every other event, focus on the practice round know the clubs you’re most likely to hit and work on that on the driving range. 

“I’m staying with John Murphy and Paul McBride so it will be interesting to see if there’s any difference in what they do and what they think the scores will be so I’ll pick their brains.” 

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