Gary Hurley will hope to take a big step towards Challenge Tour promotion when he returns to Alps Tour duty for the last regular event of the season at Castelconturbia Golf Club.
The West Waterford professional put years of on-course disappointment behind him with a brilliant maiden four-shot win on the Alps Tour in June and he’s since kicked on, finding himself in fifth spot on the all-important top-5 on the money-list that guarantees promotion at year’s end.
Hurley arrives off the back of top-25 finish on Sunday at the Challenge Tour’s Swiss Challenge where he broke par three of four rounds in a continuation of his sound form that has been a feature of his season.
The former Walker Cup star has finally begun to fulfil the promise of a glittering amateur career and while advancing to Europe’s secondary tour will top the agenda from now until season’s end, Hurley won’t be getting ahead of himself in his pursuit of promotion.
“I set some goals at the start of the year but nearly all of them were around things that I can control,” Hurley says.
“I can’t control whether I finish top-5 on the Alps Tour and get a Challenge Tour card. I can’t control results of Q-School. I’ve no control over what anyone else does, but I have a lot of control over what I’m doing and my behaviour and that’s where a lot of my focus has been this year.
“It’s probably the only thing I’m focussed on right now. Everything else is a bi-product.
“That’s a difficult transition to make and a difficult separation – to separate the outcomes and the stuff that comes with playing well – but it’s what I’ve been doing this year and it’s been paying off so far.”
This week’s opportunity is the last regular season stop before next week’s season-ending Emilia Romagna Alps Tour Grand Final. Hurley sits in fifth spot on the Order of Merit standings but his advantage is a slender one, and with the best part of 15,000 points between himself and money-list leader Gregoria De Leo, Hurley will be looking up as opposed to over his shoulder in a bid to bridge the gap and earn an even better status for next season’s Challenge Tour.
It remains a tall task with all of the current top 10 players in the Alps Tour Order of Merit taking their chance this week. This includes current leader and three-time winner this season, De Leo, plus two-time winner and third place French amateur Tom Vaillant.
In-all, there will be 120 players from 18 different nationalities competing for a prize fund of €40,000 and 45,000 points. The winner of the 2022 Castelconturbia Alps Open will earn €5,800 and 6,525 Order of Merit points.
Next week’s Grand Final sees an improved prize pot of €50,000. Hoping to play their way into that Grand Final reckoning will be Jonathan Yates, Paul McBride, James Sugrue and Michael Young who complete the Irish line-up this week in Castelconturbia.
- Full entries HERE
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