Moriarty begins trek to Portrush

Colm Moriarty is determined to again remind Irish Open organisers of his credentials during this week’s Madeira Islands Open.

The Glasson Golf-attached Moriarty has purposely not competed in five months since attending Tour School last December so the 33-year-old’s season will begin high in the clouds on the mountainous Santo de Sierre course.

“This is my first time out this year and it’s simply because I didn’t want to play the long-haul Challenge Tour events,” said Moriarty, beginning his ninth season as a pro today.

“So this is the start of my season and I’m now itching to get going.”

However, Moriarty has been working hard, particularly on his short game, with new Finnish-born coach Jussi Pitkanen, who is attached to the Dave Pelz Academy at Killeen Castle.

“I just felt last year my short game was letting me down and over the past seven years on the Challenge Tour, I’ve won once, finishing mainly in the 30s and 40s.

“Then when I’ve played on the main tour I’ve played okay, including the few Irish Open’s I’ve contested.

“So I am sure working with Jussi I can improve my short game and improve and get me where I want to get to and, of course, that’s ultimately back on the main European Tour.”

One other European Tour event Moriarty is hoping to compete in at the end of next month in the Irish Open.

And given the increased profile his management company Horizon Sports now enjoys by managing world No 1 Rory McIlroy, Moriarty is hoping Royal Portrush organisers will look favourably on his invitation.

“An Irish Open at Royal Portrush is going to be fantastic and I very much would like to be in the field,” he said.

“Hopefully, I can remind organisers now that I am back into competition of my credentials.”

Joining Moriarty is Newcastle’s Simon Thornton and Santo de Serra head professional Dara Ford.

Galway-born Ford, who undertook his PGA apprenticeship at Rosses Point, has been attached to the club for a year and received an invitation into the event.

“I’m the tallest man in Madeira,” the 6ft 32-year-old joked. “But seriously, I am looking forward to teeing up in a European Tour event and count myself very lucky.

“I’m not expecting fireworks or miracles and if I could make the cut that would be fantastic.”


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