Irish hopefuls begin quest to reach European Tour

Fourteen Irish golfers begin the second stage of the European Tour qualifying school at four venues throughout Spain today.

They include a number of experienced players, most notably David Higgins of Waterville and Yorkshire-born Simon Thornton, who have figured regularly on Tour over the years.

At the other end of the scale comes Alan Dunbar, the Rathmore youngster who will face a considerable dilemma should he come through this week’s exercise and finally qualify for his Tour card at the final school, running from November 24 to 29.

As the current holder of the British Amateur championship, the 23-year-old Dunbar is assured of a place in next year’s US Masters at Augusta and the British Open at Muirfield in July — should he remain amateur. Members of the unpaid ranks retain their status provided they waive their right to prize money before each stage of the qualifying process. Dunbar has decided to wait and see how he progresses before making a final decision.

While Dunbar is the only amateur among this week’s Irish contingent, the majority of the others have represented Ireland at various levels.

Among them are Mark Murphy from Waterville, Tim Rice of Limerick, Noel Fox (Portmarnock), Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Peter O’Keefe (Muskerry) and Ulster duo Gareth Shaw and Jonathan Caldwell.

Irish competitors this week are:

El Saler, Valencia — Noel Fox (Portmarnock), David Higgins (Waterville), Ruaidhri McGee (Golf 525 Murcia), Simon Thornton (Team Ireland), Gareth Shaw (Team Ireland).

Las Colinas, Alicante — Chris Devlin (Team Ireland), Mark Murphy (Waterville).

El Valle, Murcia - Cian Curley (Team Ireland), Peter O’Keefe (Muskerry), Tim Rice (Limerick).

Lumine Golf & Beach Club, Tarragona — Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye), Alan Dunbar (Rathmore), Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Mark Staunton (Ballinasloe).


© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Rory remains in $10m race

Irish trio make solid start at the Wyndham Championship

Irish stars facing fight for FedEx Cup survival

Tiger had five drugs in system after DUI arrest


Breaking Stories

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere sent off after under-23s brawl

Victoria Azarenka pulls out of US Open for personal reasons

Billy Vunipola to miss first month of Saracens' season with injury

Man City v Everton: Two red cards and Wayne Rooney's milestone made for an eventful game

Lifestyle

The Islands of Ireland: Knight to remember on Clare Island

This is what it's like to search for a home in Dublin

How slowing down your travel can enhance your holiday

Remembering Joe Strummer's early visits to Ireland

More From The Irish Examiner