Liam Grehan feels playing longer tournaments on the Clutch Pro Tour can give him the patience to tame Carne Golf Links at next week’s 113th Irish PGA Championship.
The K Club professional picked up his first win on the PGA in Ireland region in Friday’s Bellewstown Pro-Am where he shared top spot with four other players. Having balanced his time between the region and the Clutch Pro Tour – a card he earned at the PGA Playoffs – he feels he has learned how to plot his way in 54-hole tournaments which could be important over three rounds in Belmullet.
“It’s been a little frustrating I feel like I’ve played just as well as I did last year but I suppose playing more Clutch Pro Tour has meant I’ve played less on the region and the standard on Clutch is so high,” said Grehan. “I was eight-under for 54 holes and finished 12th so I need to raise the game but I learned a lot from them. There’s a different skillset in putting three rounds together whereas in the PGA you need to be on it on the day it’s a one round shootout you need to be sharp.
“It’s about being patient over 54-holes. You can play really patient and shoot level par and finish 15th in a PGA pro-am whereas in the PGA Championship you can be level par and then make a few birdies in the next round and move up and get yourself in the running for it so three rounds are a different beast. Playing more of that on the Clutch is turning me into a better player. The last few years turning pro and playing one and two day events is a different challenge so playing more Clutch gives me a different mindset.”
Grehan finished in a share of ninth place in seriously windy conditions in Carne twelve months ago as Damien McGrane won the Irish PGA Championship and he is quietly confident he can improve on that result.
“Carne is always a challenge with the weather but I think it’s looking a bit better next week, I couldn’t make the pro-am earlier in the year but I’ve played Carne plenty of times and I know it well and it’s nice to be hitting a bit of form coming into the week in Bellewstown yesterday so I’m excited.
“Bellewstown had played quite long, nice test of golf, had to drive it well which will be important in Carne as well. So it was a good test ahead of the PGA Championship, you can’t miss fairways in Carne at all I’ll take less drivers than Bellewstown but with all the rain if it plays that long I might change strategy. Hitting driver doesn’t guarantee missing the fairway and hitting driving iron doesn’t guarantee I’ll hit the fairway.
“Playing the pro-am on Wednesday so I’ll test out a few things and I remember the place fairly well. Last year the course was burnt out and the ball ran a mile so it will be different playing next week. I played solid last year just didn’t get the putts so I holed a few in Bellewstown so more of that will be good next week. I went over to see a coach in Scotland for a day trip so applying a bit of that stuff and I’m quietly confident I can play well, I can’t control the result but once I play well I’m a happy man.”
The Horizon Irish Open heads to the K Club Palmer Course next month and the Mullingar native still hasn’t given up hope of securing a playing role in the tournament.
“If I can get a good result next week I’m hoping it will put me in the running for an Irish Open spot at the K Club, a little invite, that will be my last hope. Do a little Michael Block on it then! Either way I’ll be gunning for this week as will everyone, this is the big one.”