David Boote’s whirlwind week continues in Carlow this week as, fresh from competing for Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup at the weekend, he tees it up as a professional for the first time at the Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort.
The Welshman returns to Europe to begin his career in paid ranks after completing his studies at Stanford University following some highly successful years as an amateur, notably including victory at the 2015 Welsh Amateur Championship.
Now having added competing in the Walker Cup to his CV, Boote – the only member of the British and Irish side to win his singles match on Sunday as the American team sealed a comfortable victory – is looking forward to the next stage of his career.
“It’s very exciting,” said the 23 year old. “Last week was amazing, probably the best golfing week of my life. Obviously the result was tough, but we were up against a really hard team, and it was a great experience with a really great group of boys.
“Lots of guys have done really well in the past couple of years after playing Walker Cup so hopefully that can bode well, but I’ve just got to keep working hard and hopefully some success will come.
“The Walker Cup was the last thing I wanted to do in the amateur game so then, after I got an invite into this week, it was the ideal time to turn professional. Now I want to hit the ground running.
“The crowds were insane. The first morning Jack Davidson and I were playing foursomes together and we were so nervous for the first five holes – there were thousands of people there all weekend.
“At different points in the event it all built up. I was the last match on the course on the final day, out nine of ten but the last match had already finished, and coming up 18 with everybody who was there that day just crowded around the green.
“I managed to hold my nerve and win that match in front of all of that, and it was an amazing experience to be able to take forward – the whole buzz around the event, especially I think doing it in Los Angeles as well really added to it.”
It would have surprised few had Boote decided to pursue the American dream after completing his studies in California, especially when he looked at the Stanford roll of honour and noticed, among others, the names of Tom Watson and Tiger Woods on there.
However, after graduating earlier this summer, he has decided that Europe, and the Challenge Tour, represents his best option as he looks to build on his undoubted potential.
In particular, a day in the company of Aaron Rai – still topping the Road to Oman Rankings following three Challenge Tour wins this year – helped Boote make this choice.
“I got a lot of advice from different people,” he said. “Basing myself at home makes it a bit easier than doing the Web.com Tour, and the standard on the Challenge Tour as well made the decision easier.
“I played U.S. Open qualifying with Aaron Rai earlier this year and talked to him about it and he was obviously very supportive of the Challenge Tour and said it was a really good stepping stone.
“I was lucky in my time at Stanford, being on a team with Patrick Rodgers who’s now on the PGA Tour, Maverick McNealy who has been the Number One ranked amateur golfer in the world for the last two or three years.
“It’s nice for me and him, we’re really good friends, and we’re both turning pro at exactly the same time and going our own separate ways on either side of the pond.
“I was very lucky to go to Stanford and the history of the place is obviously really cool, with Tiger, Tom Watson, names like that, looking up at the honours board and seeing those names up there is incredible.
“I’m pretty jet-lagged but this week I’m just hoping to play well. I played in the Bridgestone Challenge last year and managed to make the cut so I’m hoping to make my first cheque this week.
“I’m just going to go and try to play my normal game and see where it’s at. I’m excited to be here and compete against the guys on the Challenge Tour and see how I fare.”