Subscriber OnlyGolfDifferent Strokes

Conor Purcell up for the Challenge Tour after high of Irish Open

Different Strokes: Paul McGinley’s double-act with Brendan O’Carroll; Vincent Norman’s gear; and Ray Floyd’s special day

After playing at the Irish Open, Conor Purcell returns to the Challenge Tour, where he is doing rather well. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

“It’s back to no crowds next week,” quipped Conor Purcell, who had his own fan club among the masses at The K Club. The 26-year-old Dubliner now reverts back to the Challenge Tour, where he is doing rather well, it must be said.

Purcell moves on to this week’s Portugal Open at Vau Obidos, which kicks in a strong finish to a year in which he hopes to seal his promotion to a full DP World Tour card for next season at the Rolex Grand Final, which concludes this season in early November.

“Everyone has a chance who plays that week,” said Purcell of the limited field of 45 players who make it to the Grand Final, where 20 cards to the main tour will be available.

Purcell lies in 33rd place on those standings and aims to make progress during an upcoming schedule that takes in Portugal, Switzerland, France and China in the regular season before the Grand Final in Mallorca.

Dermot McElroy can afford to look on the bright side of his sudden-death defeat. Photograph: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Dermot McElroy – beaten in a playoff by French amateur Martin Couvra for the Challenge de Espana on Sunday – has moved up 52 places to 56th in the rankings, and that runner-up finish has also earned him a place in the field in Portugal this week as he, too, pushes for a place in the Grand Final.

McElroy did have some consolation for his sudden-death defeat: he got the first prize payout of €33,750, as Couvra, an amateur, couldn’t take the cheque.

Bangers and cash

It doesn’t matter if you’re using them in a coddle or grilling or frying them, the link-up between Kearns sausages and Paul McGinley will raise funds for the golfer’s charity, the McGinley Foundation, which supports charities and not-for-profit organisations with particular emphasis on those that assist children and young adults.

McGinley has enlisted the aid of comedian Brendan O’Carroll, aka Mrs Brown, in promoting the initiative that will see a portion of sales donated to the foundation for every purchase during September and October.

“We are extremely excited about working with Kearns and with Brendan. The proceeds of this campaign will help several charities that I work with,” said McGinley.

Word of mouth
Minjee Lee of Australia looks on during the trophy ceremony after winning in a two-hole playoff against Charley Hull during the final round of the Kroger Queen City Championship in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photograph: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

“I guess I just have a lot of grit, I never give up. I like to think that I’m always putting pressure on my opponents and not giving it up too easily” – Minjee Lee assessing her fighting qualities after beating Charley Hull in a playoff to win the Kroger Queen City Championship on the LPGA Tour.

By the numbers

32Shane Lowry’s tied-third place finish behind Vincent Norrman in the Irish Open at The K Club saw the Offalyman climb impressively in the rankings that matter: he moved from 37th to 32nd in the Official World Golf Rankings and he jumped from 55th to 32nd in the Race to Dubai order of merit. Lowry’s defends his BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, starting Thursday, where he is one of four Irish players in the field along with Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington and Tom McKibbin.

On this day … September 12th, 1976

Ray Floyd birdied the 72nd hole and then repeated the feat on the 18th, at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, to defeat Jerry McGee in the World Open tournament at Pinehurst No.2, giving him a hugely popular win in his home state of North Carolina.

Ray Floyd won four majors during his career. Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

Floyd had won his second career major at the Masters earlier in the season, and duly claimed the eighth of 22 career wins on the PGA Tour when closing out the unfortunate McGee.

His rounds of 69-67-67-71 for a 10-under-par total of 274 got Floyd in the playoff with McGee, who had charged up the leaderboard with a final round 65. In regulation, Floyd sank a 10-footer for birdie to force the playoff and, then, in sudden-death, he hit his approach to three feet and sank the birdie putt.

The defeat for McGee continued a series of near-misses in a season in which he had two runners-up finishes, a third and three fourth-place finishes.

X/Twitter Twaddle

The Irish really are the best fans in the world. Enjoyed my week at the K Club….Disappointed to come up a little short but gave it all I had. On to Wentworth – Shane Lowry

It might not of been the week I wanted but what a great Horizon Irish Open it was, like the old days. The home support was amazing especially the support for my early morning tee times. @thekclub showed it’s teeth today even in the benign conditions. Just a great championship test – Pádraig Harrington

STRAFFAN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Luke Donald of England plays his second shot on the 13th hole during Day Two of the Horizon Irish Open at The K Club on September 08, 2023 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Fantastic week at the @IrishOpen_ bringing back so many great memories from when I played the 2006 Ryder Cup. Such a great atmosphere playing in front of amazing crowds this week, your support was very much felt and appreciated – Luke Donald

Know the Rules

Q: A ball that is embedded in the side of the hole with part of the ball above the surface of the putting green is treated as holed. True or false?

A: False, unfortunately for anyone who finds themselves in such a situation. Under the Definition of Holed/1, when a ball is embedded in the side of the hole, and all of the ball is not below the surface of the putting green, the ball is not holed. This is the case even if the ball touches the flagstick.

In the Bag – Vincent Norrman
2023 Horizon Irish Open, The K Club, Kildare 10/9/2023 Sweden’s Vincent Norrman celebrates victory with the trophy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Horizon Irish Open

Driver – Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees)

3-wood – Ping G430 MAX (15 degrees)

5-wood – Ping G430 MAX (18 degrees)

Irons – Titleist 620 CB (4 and 5 iron), Titleist 620 MB (6-PW)

Wedges – Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (50, 54 and 60 degrees)

Putter – TaylorMade Spider X

Ball – Titleist Pro V1x