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  • Northside East

Portmarnock golfer Conor prepares for Amateur Open

Sunday, 12th May, 2019 9:00am
Portmarnock golfer Conor prepares for Amateur Open

Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) on the 1st tee during Round 4 of The West of Ireland Open Championship in County Sligo Golf Club, Rosses Point, last month. PHOTO: THOS CAFFREY/WWW.GOLFFILE.IE

Portmarnock golfer Conor prepares for Amateur Open

Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) on the 1st tee during Round 4 of The West of Ireland Open Championship in County Sligo Golf Club, Rosses Point, last month. PHOTO: THOS CAFFREY/WWW.GOLFFILE.IE

PORTMARNOCK international Conor Purcell will lead the field for the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship when the blue riband tournament moves west to County Sligo from May 16-19.

Purcell, number 25 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (as of April 24), has already captured the Australian Amateur crown this year. 

The 21-year-old North Dubliner enters his home championship as the highest ranked player. Ireland teammate Caolan Rafferty is an absentee due to a clash with third level exams. Former champion Peter O’Keeffe, successful in 2017, is among this year’s title challengers.

Speaking ahead of the championships, Purcell, who began the domestic season with a share of second at the West of Ireland, the first event on the Bridgestone Order of Merit, said: “I think once you play well, things fall into place. I don’t really put an emphasis on a particular tournament or a particular stretch of events. You just need to try keep doing what you’re doing.”

Purcell’s strong showing at the West, also staged at County Sligo, bodes well for his next title bid. The Flogas Irish Amateur Open was last played over the links at Rosses Point in 1950, when the legendary JB Carr prevailed. And with Caolan Rafferty, this year’s West of Ireland winner, unable to contest the national championship, Purcell is in pole position.

Rafferty leads the Bridgestone Order of Merit following his early season success but Purcell can leapfrog the current leader by finishing inside the top 13 this time around. 

The winner of the Irish Amateur will earn 425 points toward the order of merit series, the most valuable single prize on offer throughout the season.

“I think over the last year or so there has been a much bigger emphasis on playing at home,” said Purcell, buoyed by Bridgestone’s backing for the Order of Merit. 

“Bridgestone have done a great job in supporting it. You need a sponsor like that to back it.”

 It’s huge because I think there were a few years there where players put a bigger emphasis on playing abroad and playing big world-ranking events.”

 

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