‘What are we going to do on the fairways this year?’ ‘The same thing we do every year Pinky, try to take over the world.’
At least that looks to be the aim in theory as some of Ireland’s hopefuls set their sights on another Qualification campaign in 2018. For Waterford’s Kevin Phelan, his entry into the PGA Tour Latinoamérica Qualifying School comes off the back of a year best forgotten.
Over sixteen Challenge Tour appearances, the 27-year-olf managed to make the weekend just five times as he fell to 155th on the Road to Oman rankings. He amassed just €5,242 for his efforts in an eye-opening statistic highlighting just how precarious life as a professional golfer can be.
Still, the former Walker Cup star, who collected a career best cheque for €80,600 at the 2015 Joburg Open, has time on his side to rediscover some old form and he’ll be hoping to kick-start the revival at Mission Inn Resort in Florida from January 9-12, where the top-35 will be awarded Tour membership.
Far from being the lone wolf in a New Year bid for status, four of Phelan’s compatriots will tee-up across four venues for the 72-hole qualifiers at the First Stage of Asia Tour Q School in Thailand, January 3-6.
Limerick’s Tim Rice will be joined by Dubliner Niall Kearney at Rayong Green Valley Country Club. Black Bush’s Stephen McCarthy is poised for action at St. Andrews 2000, while Headfort’s Rory McNamara is taking his chance at Windsor Park and Golf Club.
The quartet of Irish pretenders are bidding to compete at the 90-hole Final Stage qualifying at Rayong Green Valley Country Club and St. Andrews 2000 from January 10-14, where a whopping 264 competitors are expected to play at least one round at each venue.
140 golfers will then make it through the 36-hole cut only to be confronted with another chop after 72-holes. The leading 70 players will advance to the final 18 where the top-35 and ties will earn the right to play. Nothing too strenuous then!
Yet, well-rested and revived after an albeit short off-season by sporting standards, with a new year comes renewed opportunity and we wish our lads the very best in their unique journeys to the top of the game.