Huge opportunity knocks in Cyprus this week as the PGA Playoffs get underway at Aphrodite Hills PGA National on Wednesday as Richard Kilpatrick, Liam Grehan and Tim Rice make the trip to Paphos.
Eight DP World Tour starts will be granted to the winner of the playoffs this week including a spot in this year’s Horizon Irish Open at the K Club this September.
PGA Order of Merit winner Kilpatrick of Banbridge won four times on the Irish region last year and is full of confidence heading to Cyprus. Golf is no longer the be all and end all for him but that doesn’t mean he has closed the door on his main tour ambitions yet with the PGA Playoffs providing the best avenue to the promised land.
“I’ll be giving it the best chance I can,” says Kilpatrick who was twelfth at last year’s PGA Playoffs. “I got better with each round I played at Slieve Russell which just shows the difference with competitive golf under your belt.
“Last year the winner got eight European tour starts and that’s a great opportunity. Some of the events as well – Wentworth, the Irish Open. They’re big events,” adds the Northern Irishman whose last DP World Tour start came in his one and only Irish Open appearance in Portstewart in 2017.
On the other end of the scale is the K Club’s Liam Grehan who is only finishing his PGA qualifications this year.
The 27-year-old took the region by storm last year, winning four times in just his second season as he pushed Kilpatrick all the way at the summit of the Order of Merit.
Grehan will be involved in the Irish Open one way or another when it rolls around to the K Club this year but he would dearly love to be walking the fairways with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry and showing what he can do in September.
“The Playoffs is my big one, my goal is to play in the Irish Open and to do it through that.” Grehan explains.
“The buzz around it would be class. Being a home player, it would be unbelievable, I get on well with the members and they are so supportive, some of them have sponsored me this year. The excitement around the Irish Open would be unreal and an experience I couldn’t even dream of.”
The Mullingar man is no stranger to tour life having divided his time between working at the K Club and playing the Clutch Pro Tour last year.
“The Playoffs is the avenue and I don’t know my schedule yet whether I play Clutch or get starts on Challenge and European Tours. There are lots of possibilities and work will be flexible so I have the opportunity to play more and get to rest to avoid burning out.”
Limerick’s Rice pipped Glasson’s Colm Moriarty to third in the Order of Merit thus qualifying him for the Playoffs this week.
Rice was a three-time winner on the region in 2022 and has several stints on the DP World Tour in the past, trying his hand at Q-School no fewer than eight times across a fifteen year period.
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