Advancing to next month’s Road to Mallorca Grand Final would cap off an encouraging first experience of tour life for Conor Purcell who has taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him this season after a staggered start to his professional career.
The former Walker Cup player’s leap into the professional ranks coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic but after a period of uncertainty where he began his year with little or no status and relying on invites, he is now in bonus territory.
The Portmarnock man finished ninth last week to earn a spot in this week’s field at the English Trophy presented by Rocket Yard Sports Marketing. Having moved up ten places to 64th in the Road to Mallorca, he knows a good week will secure him a Challenge Tour card for 2023 (top-70) but another high finish could see him force his way into the Grand Final.
“I’m looking forward to it obviously, it’s a nice bonus I didn’t think I’d get into either of the English events and then to get the call last week was good,” said Purcell who was preparing to practice the back nine at Frilford Heath.
“To finish the year with a Challenge Tour card for next year would be great. However, that’s out of my control. All I can do is do my best and stick to what I have been doing over the last few weeks and see where it leaves me.
“I’m not sure what I need to do but obviously a high finish on the leaderboard would give me a good chance; there’s obviously a number of lads in the same boat as me but I’m not focusing on that, just trying to have as good a week as possible.”
A full season of tour golf has seen the 25-year-old reach a career-high 743rd in the OWGR which includes three top-10s on Europe’s second tier and four top-11 finishes on the Alps Tour – where he began his season.
Whatever happens this week, Purcell knows a full season of tour golf will stand to him in the future.
“It’s been a good year,” he says. “It was a year where I started with not much status anywhere so to obviously finish the year with status would be nice and just play continuously. That was the biggest thing, starting my career I didn’t get to play consistently during the summer and it was stop start. This year I have managed to play over 20 events and I feel like I am into a rhythm and I am enjoying it.
“Playing nicely to get myself into this week was great and it’s nice to have a chance to qualify for the Grand Final next week.
“The longer you spend out here, the more comfortable you get around the lads and the different courses. I think I’m definitely comfortable out here now and now it’s about keeping doing what I’m doing and keep pushing and progress through the ranks.”