With this week’s Irish Challenge Tour event at Mount Wolseley clashing with the Clipper Logistics tournament on EuroPro Tour, it left some Irish players with some tough choices.
Above Jonny Caldwell in action. Image by Golffile.ie
Yes, the Mount Wolseley event is a bigger tournament with more money on offer but the risk of losing ground with only one event left in the main EuroPro Tour season ahead of the end of season Tour Championship in Portugal was too big a draw.
Jonny Caldwell, Dermot McElroy and Niall Kearney were three that chose to tee it up in the penultimate event of the EuroPro Tour season rather than take up spots at Mount Wolseley.
With the the top-five players on the EuroPro Tour guaranteed full Challenge Tour cards for next season you can understand their reasoning too, especially as Caldwell was fourth in the rankings, McElroy is sixth and Kearney is 10th before this week’s event.
It was Headfort Golf Clubs Brian Casey that was the top Irish finisher at the EuroPro Tour’s Clipper Logistics Championship as he took third place earning him £3000 , his best finish of the season. The finish moved the Meath man up seventeen spots to 26th in the overall Race To Amendoeira.
Justifying missing the Irish Challenge Caldwell and McElroy finished in a tie for fourth earning £1750 each. The finish left Caldwell in fourth position just inside the top 5 cut off that will earn their Challenge Tour card for 2018.
Despite the top finish McElroy dropped back one place to 7th as the weeks winner James Adams leapfrogged him with a four shot victory, claiming his second tour win of the year.
Adams (Druids Heath Golf Club), who had already tasted victory at the Motocaddy Masters at Wychwood Park Golf Club, collected just a single bogey across 54 holes at Moor Allerton Golf Club.
“I feel great, it is hard to put the win into words but it makes everything worth it.”: said Adams, who wins £10,000 as well as a brand new Motocaddy S3 PRO electric trolley with lithium battery, Bushnell Pro X2 Range Finder and Bolle sunglasses.
He added: “It’s probably the best I’ve ever played in a tournament. The weather was really tough, especially on the first day with the wind and heavy rain. The last two days have been great, to go bogey free across two rounds isn’t the norm for me.”
In total, Adams collected 13 birdies over 54 holes to win comfortably. His second win moves him to 5th in the Race To Amendoeira, from which the top five at the end of the season earn promotion to the Challenge Tour.
On the chance of earning promotion to the Challenge Tour Adams said: “I haven’t really thought about it, I’ve never been in a better position in my career. I’ve played well this year, it’s really tough at this level with under-par cuts every week. I’m really looking forward to going out to Portugal and extending my season a little bit.”
Before his win at Wychwood, Adams had won just £430 in the Race To Amendoeira. But, just five events later the 23-year old had added £20,000 to his tour earnings with a great chance of earning promotion to the next tier of professional golf.
He said: “It’s been an incredible year, after winning at Wychwood I realised this tour was where I needed to be. It’s great knowing that whenever I’ve been in contention I’ve won.”
With the top 60 qualifiers now all confirmed for the Tour Championship and a record £100,000 on offer at the final event a lot could change in Portugal especially with over £22,000 for the winner. Six Irish players have made the elite final field with Caldwell (4th), McElroy (7th), Kearney (10th) , McCarroll (17th), Casey (26th) and Rice(47th) all chasing one of the five golden cards.
Full Race to Amendoiera rankings