Conor Purcell might have missed out on a DP World Tour card at last week’s Challenge Tour Grand Final but he has his tail up ahead of a second bite of the cherry at the Final Stage of Q-School.
Purcell finished in sixth place at last week’s Grand Final in a blustery Alcanada and was in contention to break into the coveted top-20 on the Road to Mallorca Rankings for all four rounds. Rather than feel disappointed, he is bullish about his chances ahead of six gruelling grounds at Infinitum Golf where the top-25 and ties will secure DP World Tour cards.
“I’ve never been so this is my first time here. Last week was tiring and this week will be no different so it was about resting up for a few days and get going again,” said the 26-year-old who played his first full season on the Challenge Tour this year.
“It was nice last week I feel like my game is sharp coming into this which is good. I played in lots of wind in Alcanada and I heard it will be windy this week so from that point of view it’s all good.”
Making it to the DP World Tour would also guarantee players a lucrative sum of $150,000 should they compete in at least fifteen events.
Purcell will be joined by Jonathan Caldwell who is looking to return to Europe’s top level after an underwhelming year away on the Challenge Tour while Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee is having his eighth crack at the whip in trying to make it to the DP World Tour.
Mark Power edged into the Final Stage in a playoff last week as he continued his impressive start to life as a professional and the 23-year-old can kickstart his career with a successful week.
In his seventh year as a professional Conor O’Rourke will have his first taste of Final Stage Tour School. This achievement has already secured him category 15 on Challenge Tour for 2024 and will give him his best playing schedule of his career so far. Of course, he will be looking to improve on that and hit the big time this week.
“I was pleased mostly in my attitude all week,” O’Rourke said after securing safe passage to the Final Stage last weekend. “It was obviously a very messy week in terms of weather and stop-start golf in really testing conditions.
“So I was particularly proud about the way I handled myself and I have to credit my brother James who was caddying this week. He did a really really good job when I got ahead of myself a bit here and there today and helped me come through and do my job.”
Dermot McElroy enjoyed a solid year on Challenge Tour in his eighth year as a professional and retained his card after playing his way onto the second tier via the now folded EuroPro Tour . September’s runner up finish in Spain where he was beaten in a playoff was his best finish of the year and helped him to 61st on the Road to Mallorca.
With status secured for next year on the Challenge Tour, the Ballymena man is excited for another crack at the Final Stage of DP World Tour Q-School.
“I think this week should be exciting. I got to the Final Stage as an amateur in 2013 and again in 2017 in my first year as a pro so I’m definitely more experienced.
“The last time I was there it was around the same two courses so I definitely know how to prepare for it and what to do and what not to do.
“I am looking forward to this week. I have a chance to play some good golf and hopefully that’s good enough.”