By Brian Keogh

Ireland's Keith Nolan is fast becoming the iron-man of the Nationwide Tour.

As the second division American circuit criss-crosses its way across the US, Nolan follows with the energy of a man half his age.

At 34, the Bray native has played every single one of the 23 events on this year's schedule.

And he sees no point in stopping now after spending his evenings working part-time in his local Starbucks last year as he battled to get back on tour.

This week's Xerox Classic at Irondequoit Country Club in Rochester, New York, is the Tour's 23rd event on its 32-tournament schedule.

And Nolan is the only player to have started each and every one.

Asked what kept him going, Nolan didn't have to pause for thought.

He beamed: "Simple really. I didn't have status last year and I was Monday qualifying every week. This year I got it back through the Q-School and I want to take advantage of every opportunity I have. Playing professional golf is my dream and my passion. I think I've also played in every pro-am.''

At five foot nine and weighing 14 stone four, Nolan is joking when he adds that its fitness that makes all the difference.

He said: "I like to tell people I do it because I'm in such great shape"

Abandoned by the Team Ireland Golf Trust when he needed the money most, Nolan has clawed his way back onto one of the biggest tour's in golf with sweat and tears.

Twice a holder of his PGA Tour card, he has made huge sacrifices to get back where he is today and he's not about to stop now.

Married to an American girl and living in Knoxville, Tennessee with their three young children, the former Walker Cup star hasn't stopped since he teed it up in the Movistar Panama Championship on January 28.

Before the end of April he had been to Australia, New Zealand, Louisiana, Georgia and California without making a single cut.

Suddenly he hit a hit streak, earning four cheques in a row in the southern states from Goergian and Virginia to Arkansas and South Carolina.

After missing two more cuts in Maryland and Illinois he finished tied ninth in the Rex Hospital Open in North Carolina and has missed just one cut since then after visits to Minnesota, his home town of Knoxville, New York, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Pennsylvania.

Despite the thousands of miles he's logged, he's still a lowly 80th on the Nationwide Tour money list with just $49,177 in official earnings.

But he's not giving up hope of finishing in the top 25 and earning automatic promotion to the PGA Tour next year.

He said: "I'm just not getting those seconds and thirds that move you up the money list. Everybody's looking for that one week. Maybe mine will come here."

Nolan was bang on course to make yet another cut in New York, carding a battling level par 70 to lie 32nd going into last night's second round.

If they handed out tour victories for persistence, Nolan would be vying with Tiger Woods for world No 1.

His reward is surely just around the corner.