McGrane still has desire for victory

Damien McGrane has over one million reasons to be happy with his career - but no amount of money can dampen his desire to win.

The Kells kingpin has moved over the €1 million mark in European Tour earnings - banking a massive €1.15 million over the par four seasons.

Some would say that €1 million in not a bad return for 35-year-old guy who was a club professional selling mars bars and giving lessons at Wexford Golf Club just a few years ago.

But McGrane has been playing golf for money for a long time - winning the domestic Order of Merit three times in a row - and he while he's a late-comer to the European Tour, he feels he's ready now to run with the big dogs and grab that elusive first victory.

McGrane joked: "The money is a good reward. But it’s achievements and stuff I can boast to my friends about that I want.

"You want to win and I had so many opportunities this year to justify my position on the tour and become a winner.

"It didn’t happen but it is about positions and knocking on the door. And if you are there often enough times you will do it eventually. You have seen it with Padraig Harrington - once you do it once you will do it several times in a season.

This is McGrane's fourth full season on the big stage and with each passing season he has come closer to becoming a first time winner.

Getting the job done is his obsession now and after coming close in the KLM Dutch Open in August - where he led by three with a round to go but finished third - he knows it is only a matter of time.

He explained: "I had a funny year. I was in more positions to win golf tournaments this year than I ever have before, which is important.

"I started off this year with the intention of winning golf tournaments and being in positions to win and it just didn’t happen for me and I played a lot of good golf this year.

"In the KLM I had a good opportunity there and I played solid on the last day. I needed to hole a putt or two coming in to get into the play-off if nothing else."

In the end McGrane only managed a one under par 70 in the final round - failing to shoot in the 60s on Sunday for the 15th time in a row.

He stopped the rot in his last two events with a couple of closing 69s at Madrid and St Andrews that have allowed him to move to 52nd in the Order of Merit and into the Volvo Masters for the second time in a row

McGrane is now firmly establish as one of the elite to 60 on one of the most competitive professional golf tours in the world.

But he still wants more, adding: "Last week was a good week for me and I should have been able to do that four or five times this year, not just once.

"I needed a good cheque in the Dunhill to get Valderrma done and dusted. But getting to Valderrama should have been sorted out long before.

"I was running with the pack of leaders many times this year but didn’t pull it off. It wasn’t just the final rounds. It was Saturday and Sunday. We all know it is about 72 holes and it is something I have to work on and figure out what is going on. And I have to try and just get it behind me."

Now the touring professional for Knightsbrook Hotel & Golf Resort, McGrane feels at home on tour now and is far more than just another journeyman.

He believes he belongs there and deserves his place and he knows that his day will come soon.

He said: "My mind is better now. I fit in much better than I used to obviously. I never struggled fitting in anyway but I am part and parcel of the whole thing and I feel now that the tour happens because there are guys like me there.

"There was a time when you might be happy to be involved but now I realise that there are 156 of us there and most of us have a right to be there. That in itself is reassuring.

"But I still feel young on the tour and I still think I have a lot of things to do and a lot of things to prove."