Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson conquers Concra Wood
Englishman wins second Challenge Cup event of the season in Monaghan
England’s Oliver Wilson poses with the trophy after winning the Monaghan Irish Challenge at Concra Wood Golf Club in Castleblaney. Photograph: Luke Walker/Getty Images
Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson moved closer to winning back his full European Tour card after claiming victory in the Monaghan Irish Challenge on Sunday.
The Challenge Tour event was played at Concra Wood, the 7,300-yard parkland course designed by the late Christy O’Connor jnr that is set out around Lough Muckno.
On a tour where it is usually make birdies or go home, only 17 players finished under par in the first staging of the event at Concra Wood following three years in Mount Wolseley.
This was heavily influenced by crosswinds of up to 40 km/h on the final day, but it did not distract Englishman Wilson as he clinched his second victory of the season to edge closer to a European Tour card for next year.
The aptly-named Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy, awarded to the lowest scoring Irishman, went to Conor O’Rourke as he claimed a share of 23rd place, ahead of last year’s winner Ruaidhrí McGee and Paul McBride.
The structure of Challenge Tour events means golfers from the host country are given a large proportion of entrants – Ireland’s players varied from GolfSixes winner Gavin Moynihan to teenage prodigy Tom McKibbin.
Head PGA professional Conor McKenna admitted the feedback on the course was very positive and rewarded the hard work put in to getting the course ready.
“Getting the course in condition was one of the biggest challenges,” McKenna said. “But with greens running 12.2 on the stimpmeter I’ve never seen the course in better shape.
“The Challenge Tour are very keen to return to Concra Wood. Who knows where this could lead to? I’ve said from the start that I won’t be content until Monaghan and Concra Wood host the Irish Open.”
Highlights of the Monaghan Irish Challenge will be shown on Sky Sports Golf at 8pm on Tuesday night.