Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy on quest for Tour card

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy this morning begins his bid to earn a European Tour card when he tees it up in Suffolk at qualifying school.

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy on quest for Tour card

By Carl Field

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy this morning begins his bid to earn a European Tour card when he tees it up in Suffolk at qualifying school.

The 25-year-old Challenge Tour player is one of three Irishmen among the field for the first stage event at Stoke-by-Neyland, with Colin Fairweather and Kieran Lynch also there.

Meanwhile, Peter Dallat and Stephen Grant compete at the corresponding event at Ebreichsdorf in Austria.

They will be hoping to join Luke Donnelly and Neil O’Briain who safely came through their first stage event at The Players Club in Bristol last week.

There are eight first stage events before the second stage — which takes place simultaneously at four Spanish venues between November 2 and November 5.

The third and final stage — a gruelling six-rounder — takes place at Lumine between November 10-15 after which only the top 25 and ties will earn their full playing rights for 2019.

There are two new caps in the Irish team for the start of the Senior Men’s Home Internationals at Southerness in Scotland which begin today. Barry Hobson (Malone) and East Sussex-based Steve Graham make their Home International bows, having debuted for Ireland at the European Senior Men’s Team Championship this year. Liam Halpin (Westport), John Mitchell (Tramore), and Adrian Morrow (Portmarnock) — who all played last year — return while two of the 2016 winning side Maurice Kelly (Naas) and Michael Quirke (Doneraile) are also included. Ireland finished second to England last year.

Elsewhere, there is also strong Irish interest in the Ladies’ Senior British Open Amateur Championship which gets underway this morning at Crail.

2016 champion Laura Webb is back, as is The Island’s Gertie McMullen and Sheena McElroy of the Grange, the runners-up in 2015 and 2013 respectively. Mary MacLaren is also competing in the 54-hole event with Spain’s Macarena Campomanes Eguiguren defending the title she won at Royal Belfast last year.

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