The group of six Irish golfers consisting of Jonathan Caldwell, Conor Purcell, Dermot McElroy, Daniel Mulligan, Niall Kearney and Jonathan Yates are all in action at the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos this week, as the Challenge Tour enters its final five events of the season.
Conor Purcell is the highest-ranked Irishman taking to the Portuguese course this week and will be looking to go one better than his previous Challenge Tour appearance, where he finished tied for second at the weather-disrupted Dormy Open in Sweden.
Purcell also made the cut in his most recent appearance at the Horizon Irish Open at the K Club last week in Kilkenny.
Northern Irishman Jonathan Caldwell also took part in the Horizon Irish Open last week but was unable to make the cut for the weekend with opening rounds of 76 and 83.
Caldwell’s last appearance on the Challenge Tour was at the Indoor Golf Group Challenge in Sweden, where the 39-year-old finished 23rd alongside five others including fifth in the Road to Mallorca rankings, Matteo Manassero.
Fellow Northerner Dermot McElroy enters this competition in great form after narrowly missing out on a three-way playoff at the Challenge de Espańa in Spain last week, with amateur Frenchman Martin Couvra triumphant over McElroy and Andrea Pavan.
Promising teenager Daniel Mulligan is looking to make the cut in his third Challenge Tour start this season. Mulligan has participated in both the Irish Challenge and Dormy Open but has not been able to put consistent opening rounds together on the tour as of yet.
Niall Kearney is preparing for his 15th tour event of the season and will be hoping to improve on his 50 per cent success rate in making cuts, whilst Jonathan Yates’ last appearance on the tour was at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge when a host of Irish players finished the tournament impressively, with Yates finishing with a score of 11-under-par tied for 23rd.
The rest of the field includes a number of intriguing players such as last year’s Open de Portugal champion – Pierre Pineau – as well as the top two players in the Road to Mallorca, South Africa’s Casey Jarvis and France’s Ugo Coussaud.
Jonathan Caldwell is out in the opening group of the day alongside Gregorio de Leo and Felix Katzy, with Conor Purcell in the following group with Gary Boyd and Niklas Regner for company at the first tee (tee off at 7:50 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. respectively.)
Dermot McElroy begins his opening round from the 10th tee in a three-ball with Marco Penge and Rikard Karlberg (tee-off at 8:40 a.m.)
Daniel Mulligan gets his opening round underway from the first tee alongside Shergo Al Kurdi and Martin Vorster (tee-off at 9:40 a.m.)
In the afternoon, Niall Kearney gets underway with Clément Beradro and Keenan Davidse from the 10th tee while Jonathan Yates completes the Irish interests by starting his opening round at the first tee with Alessandro Noseda and Dominic Foos (tee-off at 12:50 p.m. and 14:30 p.m. respectively.)