Des Smyth is hoping to wake up from his nightmare season by ending a ten-year wait for a home winner in the €450,000 Irish Seniors Open at Ballyliffin.

The Drogheda veteran, 55, wants to challenge top dogs Ian Woosnan, Sandy Lyle and Sam Torrance for the €67,500 top prize on the spectacular Old Links.

And he knows that a top show in Donegal could be just the confidence booster he needs to keep his card on the megabucks Champions Tour in the US.

Without a top-ten for nine months, Smyth said: “I am working on my swing and trying to find a bit of form. I am trying to pull the bunny out of the hat over in America because I am really behind the eight ball.

“I am 63rd in the money list over there, which means I am finished if I don’t come up with either big performances or a win.”

Smyth won twice and earned over $4.2 million in just five and a half seasons on the Champions Tour.

But he faces a massive task to win at windlashed Ballyliffin with senior “rookies” Woosnam and Lyle the hot favourites to dominate at the par-71 Ulster track redesigned by Nick Faldo two years ago.

Smyth added: “It is a tough golf course but it is not tricked up in any way and the bunkering is fair. It will give you a chance to score if the wind dies down, but if it stays the same it will be a tough challenge.”

Ireland has an 11-strong challenge with with Eamonn Darcy and Denis O’Sullivan joined by Smyth’s brother Val and fellow amateurs Enda McMenamin and Garth McGimpsey.