Gary Hurley's Diary: First two days, I'll try not to look at the leaderboard

At 1.30pm this afternoon, Waterford's Gary Hurley will tee off at The Volopa Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley in Carlow. Read his diary here each day.

There’s no point playing unless you want to win but leaderboards don’t matter the first two rounds. Trying not to look at them is difficult. The scoring can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re out late and you see that some guy has shot 11-under.

To do well, you’ve got to hit it straight, hit good wedge shots and hole a few putts. Sounds simple but golf is funny.

When you’re playing well you can’t ever understand how you played badly. When you’re playing badly, you can’t ever understand how you played well. When everything goes wrong and you’re tired mentally, you find it hard to put good shots together on a hole.

I played in Denmark two weeks ago on the main European Tour and my second round was probably the worst day I ever had on the course. Nothing went right. Everything left me: my driving, iron play, short game, putting. I’ve never had a day like that when everything went missing.

I was staying with Paul Dunne and there wasn’t much said for a while. Paul is very level-headed but a lot of what he said just bounced off me. It took a while before I took it all in. It was one bad day in a whole career, what does it matter?

You have to trust what you have but it can be hard to see the bigger picture when you’re playing poorly and everything closes in around you. You have to be able to step out of the bubble, look in on top of yourself and say everything is okay.

I think the top players have a great balance in life. Shane Lowry is a good example. He seems to have a great life outside of golf. It’s quite difficult to get to that point as a golfer where golf isn’t everything.

If everything becomes about golf, which I’m guilty of, and you have one bad day you get upset. People can go out one week and miss the cut by miles and win the following week. It’s amazing how fast it can change, which is good and bad.

My best finish this season was tied fourth at the Montecchia Open in Italy. At the moment I’m 64 in the Challenge Tour rankings so I’m exempt from stage one of Q-School as I was inside the top 90 at the end of August. If I get into the top 45, I’ll get a place at the final stage. That’s my target at the moment.

The Volopa Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley is the most exciting event on the Challenge Tour for me because it’s so close to home. I had two members from West Waterford playing with me in the Pro-Am yesterday, Diarmaid Horgan and Pat Murphy. My club have been really supportive and helped me a lot.

Because this is my first season, I’m relying on a lot of invitations to play. That’s why the support from Sport Ireland is so important. By hosting events in Ireland, it means that Irish players can get more invitations to play in events elsewhere. We wouldn’t have as many Irish players playing on the Challenge Tour this year if it wasn’t for this tournament.

One of the biggest things at Mount Wolseley is trying to take spin off the ball playing into the greens. You have to hit it really straight around here, there are some really tight tee shots. The course is in great condition. I can’t wait to get out there.

*Team Ireland’s Gary Hurley (23) from West Waterford GC is in his first season as a professional golfer and is supported by Sport Ireland through the Confederation of Golf in Ireland.


Lifestyle

It never ceases to stop me in my tracks when I hear my husband intone to our children one of the oft overused phrases from my stockpile of, “Can you just not?” categories.Lindsay Woods: If my children feel I’m doing it wrong then I must be doing it right

In honour of our Made in Munster special edition, Joe McNamee creates a four-course meal showcasing the best produce from the province. And there’s a lot to celebrate.The Menu's Made in Munster six course dinner - One from each county

More From The Irish Examiner