Started playing at age 11 after being introduced to the game by his father. Was a budding footballer before deciding to switch to golf. By the age of 16 he was playing off scratch, having spent several summers playing 36 holes a day at Clandeboye Golf Club in his native Northern Ireland. Attended the same University in South Alabama as his friend and compatriot Gareth Maybin, winning two tournaments on the US College circuit. Coached by Royal Belfast professional Andrew Ferguson, who accompanied him to the Qualifying School – Final Stage at PGA Golf de Catalunya, where he finished in tied 31st position to secure a place on The European Tour International Schedule for the first time.