Opportunity knocks for Irish as Q-School returns after three-year hiatus

Ronan MacNamara

Robert Moran (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Twenty-two Irish hopefuls will begin what they hope is a successful journey through DP World Tour Qualifying School as the First Stage returns for the first time in three-years. 

Castle golfer Robert Moran is back in action after he helped Ireland to a top-20 finish at last week’s Eisenhower Trophy and he is joined by San Francisco based golfer Redmond Lyons in Section B of the First Stage of Qualifying at Montado Golf Resort, Portugal which gets underway on Wednesday. 

Moran was unavailable for Castle’s Barton Shield triumph last weekend but has enjoyed a fruitful season with some strong performances abroad including fifth at the African Amateur Stroke Play, fourth at the Lytham Trophy and third at the St Andrews Links Trophy. 

28-year-old Lyons has been plying his trade on the mini tours Stateside, making four cuts from five starts. 

Moran isn’t the only amateur star bidding to jump into the professional ranks next year, Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly joining Gary McGrane in Arkandastad Golf in Sweden the following week. 

Stephen Grant and Robin Dawson are among those bidding to progress from Stage One in Austria next week while the EuroPro Tour and Alps Tour regulars take their place in the last two weeks of September. 

Turning professional in the midst of a pandemic has been a whirlwind experience for the likes of James Sugrue and Ronan Mullarney among others with both players only really getting their first proper experience of Tour life this year and they will be chomping at the bit ahead of their Qualifying School bids. 

Alps Tour regulars Sugrue, Conor O’Rourke, Paul McBride, Jonathan Yates and Michael Young will tee it up in Bogono in Italy from September 20-23 where Rowan Lester will make a return to competitive action. 

Irish PGA stalwart Tim Rice of Limerick will be joined in Denmark by Ruairi O’Connor of Sligo and Shannon’s Daniel Brennan. 

Ireland’s EuroPro Tour players Mullarney, Stuart Grehan, John Hickey, Daniel Mulligan, Liam Grehan and Stephen Cunningham will compete in Mottram Hall, Cheshire in the first week of October. 

Those who qualify for the Second Stage will tee it up at four Spanish venues in October with the Final Stage taking place across a marathon six rounds in Infinitum in Tarragona (November 11-16) where some Irish DP World and Challenge Tour regulars will come into the mix. 

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