Six Irish set to contest Alps Tour season-opener in Egypt

Mark McGowan

Paul McBride (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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The Alps Tour has been a happy hunting ground for Irish players in recent years, delivering a number of individual victories and seeing several players progress to the Challenge Tour and DP World Tour in the years following.

The 2023 campaign was the highlight with Ronan Mullarney winning twice and finishing the season as the number one player on the Order of Merit, and on the eve of the 2024 season, Irish representation has never been stronger with six players in the field at the season-opening Elin Bay Open at Sokhna Golf Club in Egypt.

Both Paul Murphy and Paul McBride were regular competitors last year, the former posting two top 10 finishes with a best result of third at the Tenerife Open, while the latter came desperately close to joining Mullarney in graduating after missing out on a playoff in the Alps Tour Grand Final where victory would’ve see him climb high enough on the Order of Merit to secure the final Challenge Tour card.

They are joined by new blood in the form of Marc Boucher, Robert Moran, AJ McCabe and Brandon St. John, all of whom will be making their maiden professional debuts having progressed through Alps Tour Q-School back in November.

The opening event of the season will offer a €40,000 prize pool and the winner of the 54-hole event will take home €5,800, and there are four 2023 Alps Tour event winners and the 2021 Order of Merit champion in the field.

McBride, who recently got a taste of big-time action when he filled in as caddie for Cameron Young in the Dubai Desert Classic where his former Wake Forest College teammate ended up in Sunday’s final group alongside Rory McIlroy, is familiar with the course having finished 27th here in last year’s staging and is targeting a fast start to the 2024 campaign.

“I’ll start out on the Alps Tour in Egypt and try get off to a good start because I haven’t done that in other seasons over my five years as a pro,” he told Irish Golfer last month, “so my main focus is to stop the flat starts and be ready to roll when it comes around.

“I almost got through last year. I think if I won the final event, I would’ve come sixth on the Order of Merit, and in the end sixth actually got a Challenge Tour card. I bogeyed my last hole to miss out on a playoff, you don’t know what could have happened if I got in the playoff. I was close last year, closer than the Order of Merit suggests.

“I have confidence that I can do it this year.”


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