Purcell excited to kick on as Challenge Tour season promises plenty

Ronan MacNamara

Conor Purcell (Photo by Jonathan Di Maggio/R&A via Getty Images)

Conor Purcell is raring to get his 2023 Challenge Tour season underway in what he describes as his second full year as a touring pro after a very encouraging 2022.

Last year saw Purcell catch the eye with a flutter of top-10 finishes on the Alps Tour before taking advantage of some Challenge Tour starts to earn a full card for this season.

The Portmarnock man ended a fruitful 2022 with a career-best share of 7th on the DP World Tour’s Australian Open in December and while it’s been two months since his last competitive start, confidence is understandably high ahead of the Bain’s Whisky Open in Cape Town.

“I’m really looking forward to starting the season again, it was nice to spend the winter down in Australia and obviously having the great finish there was a huge confidence boost,” explained Purcell.

“That being said, it’s been a good few weeks or months since I have played so kind of a fresh slate starting the year and you never know where things are going to be.

“I’m keen to get a full year going and play a full season on the Challenge Tour and see where that leaves me going forward.

“I wasn’t too disappointed that there weren’t too many events down there. I went down there to Australia to go to my brother’s wedding and ended up Monday qualifying for the event so I was hoping for a bit of a break which was great. I got a lovely break over Christmas and got to play golf when I wanted in nice weather which helps. It was a lovely winter,” added the Dubliner who tees off alongside South Africans Luke Jerling and Louis Albertse.

Still only 25, there is a sense that Purcell is making up for lost time somewhat. A Walker Cupper in 2019, his decision to turn professional coincided with the pandemic which meant life in the paid ranks never got off the ground for him until last summer where he experienced what it felt like to play a schedule and even get into contention.

Now with the luxury of being able to pick and choose his events, he is looking to kick on.

“Turning pro during the pandemic, this feels like my second full year out on tour, last year was my first Q-School. Having a full schedule ahead of Challenge Tour is very exciting and being able to plan out the year and picking and choosing is something I’m looking forward to. It’s a first for me.

“I’m really looking forward to the week and hopefully I can start the season off on a strong note.”

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