Moriarty feels ready for European Tour

Colm Moriarty can’t wait to get on the European Tour.

A quick look at the Athlone man’s career summary shows that he has made more money in two Irish Open appearances than he has in more than 50 events on the European Challenge Tour.

In 2005 he finished tied for 13th place behind Stephen Dodd at Carton House and then proved that was no fluke when he came home in 19th place behind Thomas Bjorn last year.

Those finishes were worth more than €54,000 to the touring professional for Glasson Golf Hotel and while the cynics might say that it only proves that he knows how to play the Montgomerie Course, the reality is that Moriarty has the game to compete at the highest level. Or at least, he has the potential.

Alas, the Challenge Tour has so far proved to be less lucrative for a player who helped Great Britain and Ireland to Walker Cup glory at Ganton in 2003.

While he played just nine events on the developmental European Tour in 2004, he made 24 appearance the following season and came close to winning for the first time in Kazakhstan, where he was second behind pal Stephen Browne.

His 39th place finish in the Challenge Tour rankings that season gave him hope for 2006 but it proved t be a disastrous campaign as he suffered health problems, missed a string of cuts and finished a lowly 219th in the money list and lost his playing privileges.

Back to the drawing board, Moriarty worked hard over the winter months on every aspect of the game and his diligence paid off with his first professional victory in the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Wensum Valley International Open near Norwich in early May.

The third tier tour is a long way from the glory of picking up five figure cheques in the Irish Open, but Moriarty feels he will soon be ready to move on to what he described as “bigger and better things” in the months and years ahead.

Set to celebrate his 28th birthday in June, Moriarty believes he can win a Challenge Tour event this year and earn a European Tour card by finishing in the top 20 on a circuit that has produced top class players such as Henrik Stenson and Thomas Bjorn.

The problem is that he is unlikely to get more than eight or nine starts on the Challenge Tour this season and while he will have to mix and match his schedule with appearances on the less than glamourous EuroPro Tour, he’s determined to keep progressing in the game.

“It is nice to win on any tour because the guys at the top are always playing well,” Moriarty said after a two-shot victory worth €15,000. “Fifteen grand is a great boost but I have been fortunate with sponsors. My goal now is to win on the Challenge Tour and get back on track that way.

“It is as hard to win on the EuroPro as it is on the Challenge Tour and winning will give me a chance of more starts on the Challenge and a chance to get my card by finishing in the top 20.”

Moriarty is luckier than most as he has the backing of a string of sponsors such as Glasson, Irish Life, Hyundai, TaylorMade Adidas and the Team Ireland Golf Trust.

He also has a top class coach in Brendan McDaid after flirting briefly with Pete Cowen in 2006 and while a move to the belly putter might set alarm bells ringing in some people’s minds, Moriarty feels that he is as better equipped than ever to move on to bigger and better things.
"I am as well prepared in every aspect of my game as I have ever been,” he said recently. “In the past I maybe didn't trust my game enough and looked for too many changes. I was looking around and taking too much notice of what other people were doing, instead of focusing on what I needed to do to be better.

"You tend to focus on the negative points rather than saying I am very good in this department. It's taken me three years but now I feel like I have the structure in place and am very well prepared. When you are a top amateur you know going to events that you are going to be in the mix.

"You don't feel like you have to do anything spectacular because there is that belief that you are the best player in the field. Whereas when you come into the pro game, you have no status, you're nobody. It takes a few years and some harsh experiences to progress."

Knowing Moriarty, confidence will only breed more confidence and his undoubted quality is sure to come through before too long.