Hurley stays true to himself as he earns Challenge Tour card

Ronan MacNamara

Gary Hurley - Image by Alps Tour

Gary Hurley earned a Challenge Tour card in the Alps Tour Grand Final after a share of 8th place secured him fifth on the Order of Merit. 

Hurley started the week in fourth position in the season long standings and he managed to maintain his place inside the top-5 despite being leapfrogged by Italian Stefano Mazzoli. 

A final round of 72 gave him a seven-under total for the tournament and he was proud to see all his hard work pay off having put in a trojan effort on the mental side of the game, something he believes can hold under pressure on any tour. 

“I’m delighted, it’s great to finish in the top five and progress to the Challenge Tour. It’s a nice reward on a really consistent year to be honest,” said the former Walker Cup player. 

“There were the fourth and fifth spots up for grabs between six of us maybe and all six guys were playing pretty well so I knew I had to play well. I stayed true to myself, stayed level, stayed engaged. I don’t feel I had my best game this week which is OK, and I managed myself very well, managed the emotions well. There was a lot of noise going on and it was nice to deal with things the way I did. 

“I have been doing it all year, dealing with moments like that but maybe not as much noise as this week and I have been doing it all year and it seems to hold up which is nice. It doesn’t seem to matter what tour I play on. Obviously the standard is deeper on the higher tours but the work I do stays true and I managed to stay true to myself today.” 

The West Waterford man has battled for most of his professional career, and he proved his mental capabilities on more than one occasion this week, recovering from poor starts in his opening two rounds to post back nines of 31 and 32 to keep his hopes alive. 

The 29-year-old is one of the great thinkers in the game and he was very philosophical about his week. 

“Yesterday was nice in fairness. I got off to a very slow start with a couple of mistakes and a bit of bad luck, all of a sudden I was four-over after six holes. But like I have been doing all year a lot of the work I do is around the things I can control and my narrative how I choose to operate no matter what is going on where I’m playing or how I’m playing and I just kept engaged for the rest of the day. 

“I wasn’t playing badly I just didn’t allow a tricky start to get in my head. I stayed in it right until the end and had a really good finish of six-under for my last twelve holes. That was great and it put me back in the tournament and in a decent spot.” 

There is plenty to still look forward to for Hurley who will tee it up at the Second Stage of DP World Tour Q-School with the freedom of knowledge that he will be playing Challenge Tour golf next year, so no reason not to attack the next week. 

“Looking forward to that I will take a week to celebrate the year I’ve had, the consistency, the ups and downs, the things I’ve dealt with over the years. The work continues then. It’s really nice and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for sure.” 

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