Cian McNamara is relishing the opportunity of proving his worth on the European stage as the Limerick man makes his first Challenge Tour appearance of the season at this week’s Barclays Kenya Open in Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, writes the European Tour.
The former South of Ireland champion is taking his first steps as a touring professional after playing on the Irish PGA circuit in 2011, before qualifying through the First and Second Stages of The European Tour Qualifying School and then finishing high enough in the Final Stage to earn a Challenge Tour category for 2012.
Having only made three previous appearances on the Challenge Tour, all in Ireland, the former South of Ireland champion is looking forward to a very different lifestyle this year.
“This is my first full year - I’ll be combining Challenge Tour with the Irish PGA circuit, so there is lots to look forward to,” said the 25 year old. “This is a big change for me, just even being here in Kenya, but I think once I get out on the course I can build some momentum.
“I feel like I played well over the winter and if I keep doing what I’m doing the results will come, whether it’s this event or the next event, so I just need to keep working hard.
“Playing events like this one is such a new thing for me, so it’s just a case of getting comfortable with it. The first few days are a bit uncomfortable because it’s so different, but practising here now feels much better. I’m back in my routine so it’s all experience and I’m really looking forward to it. I just need to be patient. I believe something’s going to happen this year.
“Until now, I didn’t really have the backing financially to go out on tour, but I’ve been given some support from a company in Limerick called STL and also the Irish Golf Trust. So I’ve been given the opportunity to play full-time and it takes the pressure off.”
McNamara is certainly not lacking in confidence and is hoping to play up to ten events on the Challenge Tour this year. However, he knows he will need to perform when given the chance.
“It’s a good chance to improve my opportunities for the rest of the year, so if I can get off to a good start, it will help me get into a few more events and give me a few more opportunities,” he said.
“I know I’m good enough but it’s just a matter of letting it happen and seeing where it takes me.”
McNamara is joined by two other Irishmen at Muthaiga Golf Club this week - Dubliner Niall Kearney and Cork man David Higgins.