Conor Purcell is relishing the opportunity to be surrounded by family and friends as he prepares to tee it up in the Irish Challenge at Headfort Golf Club this week.
The Irishman is staying with his sister who resides in Kells as the Road to Mallorca heads to Ireland for the first time this season.
Purcell will be hoping to use all his experience of navigating the Championship Course at Headfort Golf Club to his advantage, having grown up playing the parkland venue in Co. Meath.
“I’ve got a lot of memories from this place and this area,” he said. “My whole family grew up here and my sister has a house about ten minutes from the golf course. My dad was the head professional at Headfort from 1983 to 1991 and there’s a lot of family history here.
“My sister had her wedding at the Headfort Arms, and I’ve got a lot of fond memories here. I’ve spoken to a few lads this week and everyone has enjoyed the course. This part of Ireland has a lot of brilliant courses that people aren’t aware of.”
The 26-year-old will be looking to take home the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy which is awarded to the highest finishing Irishman this week and subsequently receive an invitation to the 2023 Horizon Irish Open.
“Any time there’s an event at home we get such great support from the Irish crowds, and I know local members really enjoy hosting these tournaments,” he said. “There’s a great buzz about the place and it’s one of the best weeks of the year.
“It’s been an up and down season for me. I started really well in South Africa but have struggled a bit since. Hopefully I can finish the year strong and break into that top 20.
“There’s a lot on the line this week. The top Irish player gets a spot in the Irish Open and I would love to be there. I’m going to just try and play my best golf and enjoy the week.”
Purcell joins a star-studded field in Kells this week, which includes Road to Mallorca Number Two Ugo Coussaud and Englishman Alex Fitzpatrick, who finished in a tie for 17th at the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club last week.
The first round gets under way at 7:30am local time, with Purcell teeing off alongside Fitzpatrick and amateur John Gough at 1:00pm.