John Gough was surrounded by all of his Irish relatives when he produced the par of a lifetime to win the Irish Amateur Championship in the Island back in May and he is braced for another family holiday at the Irish Challenge this week.
His father hails from Dunderry, Co. Meath while his mother is a Down woman with other relatives scattered around the royal county including an uncle holding membership at this week’s venue, Headfort Golf Club in Kells. For Gough, he couldn’t be closer to home without actually being home.
Roared on by family members when he reigned supreme in Donabate, he is expecting the Gough Gang to be out in force on Thursday for his second professional start.
“My dad is just 20 minutes out the road in a small, small town called Dunderry, my mother is from Kilkeel in County Down but my uncle is actually a member here and one of my cousins was a member here,” explained the Berkshire man. “I’ve played here a few times, never as tricky as this with the rough as long as it is but listen, I’m up for a challenge and hopefully we have a good week.
“I think being in Ireland and living in England, everyone says nowhere is as good as your own bed but this is as close as I can get to my own bed. Staying with an aunt of mine so we have a family house and it’ll be like another holiday but I’ve got work along with it with my golf. Looking forward to it, I love playing with my family around. They don’t often get to see me play I was out in the States for so long they didn’t see me so it’s nice having them around.
“I don’t even want to know the amount of numbers that will be out from the family, I’m excited for it and looking forward to a good week.”
Gough is part of a marquee group alongside home favourite Conor Purcell and Alex Fitzpatrick, the younger brother of Matt who finished in the top-20 at last week’s Open Championship. Hopefully the weather behaves and the fairways are lined by as many people as possible to watch three players for the future.
“When you come to Ireland you always pack a few extra wellies with you, hopefully the golf course allows us to bring a few extra wellies out, the weather people hopefully they are wrong about the rain,” smiled Gough.
The Londoner impressed on his first professional gig at the Betfred British Masters, in contention at the halfway point he settled for a top-20 finish and a healthy first paycheque. Something he hopes to build on this week.
“It was nice, obviously putting myself up towards the top of the leaderboard was really nice, unfamiliar territory for me but where I want to be though but having all the crowds and fans and playing with some great players it helps and it all helps moving forward. Hopefully I can bring that into this week and know that I can contend and I can compete so try and make myself belong here really.”