Moynihan buoyed teeing-up at Desert Springs for Second Stage DP World Tour Qualifying 

Bernie McGuire

Gavin Moynihan (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Gavin Moynihan is trusting local course knowledge and fond memories of four years ago as a key to him performing well at this week’s second stage of 2023 DP World Tour qualifying in Spain.

Moynihan, 28, is among a dozen Irish teeing-up across four venues, with the leading 20 at each course travelling onto next week’s final qualifying, and over six gruelling days at Tarragona, also in Spain.

The Dubliner is making a second visit to this week’s host Desert Springs course, having teed-up on the venue in 2018 and succeeding in making it through to final qualifying where he superbly birdied the 108th and final hole over the six day torture test to earn full Tour membership for a second year running.

However, it’s been torrid few years for The Island club golfer, mirrored in contesting just five main Tour events this season and also battling to hold onto his card on the secondary Challenge Tour. Moynihan has also made just three cut in 18 events to finish the year a lowly 216th on the money-list.

However, having played Desert Springs four years ago along with the combination of a big change to the course, Moynihan is buoyed heading into the week’s qualifier.

Gavin Moynihan on the practice range (Image: Stuart Adams)

“They’ve changed the grass since I was here last and that’s a big thing, with the fairways now lovely and soft,” he said.

“The greens also are perfect while the weather is always pretty nice down here but overall, it’s a great venue and a real positional golf course where you have to hit to the same spots and not really suiting particular players over the others and I like that.

“It’s a course where you only be using the driver about three times, and that depends on the wind.

“Also, there will be a lot of shots you’re hitting into greens from about 160-yards out, so I have been practicing a lot of those distance shots both here on the range and on the course.

“So, the golf course that I see suits no particular game and where, as I said, you’re hitting shortish irons to soft greens but with plenty of rough around the edges, that means you have to be really dialled-in playing your second shots.

“Talking of the greens, as they are quite quick and even when we finished our practice rounds on Tuesday in near darkness they were still pretty quick.

“So, it’s a good venue and I like it, and I’m looking forward very much to the week.”

And you have to like some of the names of the holes on the Desert Springs course including the 1st named – Cactus Point,  the 3rd – Crazy Horse, the 6th – The Gambler, the 15th – Oh Mama! and the last, named Last Chance.

There are also a few signs about the course warning of snakes and scorpions.

Desert Spings GC – Beware snakes and scorpions (Image: Stuart Adams)

The Irish teeing-up in the second stage of qualifying include:

  • Desert Springs in Almeria- Ruaidhri McGee, Gavin Moynihan, Conor O’Rourke, and amateur Robert Moran
  • Isla Canela Links in Huelva – Jonathan Yates, winner of the Alps Tour Grand Final.
  • Emporda in Girona – Gary Hurley, Stuart Grehan, Paul McBride and Conor Purcell
  • Las Colinas in Alicante – Niall Kearney, Dermot McIlroy and Cormac Sharvin

And while a dozen Irish head heading into second stage of qualifying the pair of Tom McKibbin and John Murphy carry Irish hopes in the final event of the Challenge Tour – the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final at Mallorca

The top-20 finishers in the elite 45-player field will earn full 2023 DP World Tour membership.

McKibbin is currently lying 15th on the Road to Mallorca money list while Kinsale’s Murphy, at 42nd has his work cut out.

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