Rory McNamara moved into contention for the best finish of his short Challenge Tour career as the home favourite at the Volopa Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa and Golf Resort and spoke afterwards about just how important this tournament is for the future of Irish golf.
The Irishman only got a call on Monday for the invite into the inaugural edition of his home Challenge Tour event but he has certainly maximised the opportunity, especially after a six under par 66 on moving day moved him to seven under for the week.
Having made his Challenge Tour earlier this year at the Turkish Airlines Challenge, the Sligo man is loving the experience of playing in front of the home crowds and believes this tournament will be huge for the development of Irish golfers in the years to come.
“I played good today,” said the 25 year old. “I made bogey at the third and then from there I had seven birdies, so that was quite good. I played well and created a lot of chances and held a couple of nice putts. I had my dad and my girlfriend there watching as well as a few locals, so that was nice too.
“I got a call on Monday so I flew in that night to Belfast and came down here Tuesday. I hadn’t played the course before. I was happy to get the invite, I had been playing well all season and I knew my game was quite good so I’m very grateful to the Challenge Tour for that.
“I have plenty of experience amateur wise and this is my first year as a professional so it’s nice to play with some good players and just be in this environment.
“It’s massive for us because there are a lot of players turning pro now and a lot of very good amateurs and it’s important for them to be supported, just to get the opportunity. There are a lot of really good players coming through but if they don’t get the opportunities then you could get stuck.
“We have had some very good players down the years that have just never managed to get off a mini-tour, whereas if they got five or six invites on to the Challenge Tour, god knows where they would be.”