Big Mick McGeady ditched his eternal bridesmaid’s tag when he grabbed his first pro win in Wales.

Now the Derry ace, 30, is determined to grab his European Tour card before he ties the knot with fiancée Lisa Brown in November.

Without a big win for nine years, McGeady banked a cheque for €22,400 thanks to his sudden-death victory in the Wales Challenge in Cardiff.

And he revealed he was just fed up playing second fiddle and refused to accept another crushing reverse in a career that was going backwards.

After soaring 125 places to 34th in the Challenge Tour rankings, McGeady beamed: “It's great to get the monkey off my back. I seemed as if I was always the runner up and I was even thinking about it in the play-off.

“But I kept telling myself, ‘It's time to win’. I drew on all my past experiences and I was just determined to get the job done after a lot of disappointments.

“I’m getting married in November so it’s happy days. The money might even pay for the band!”

One of 24 Irishmen bidding for the top prize in this week’s €150,000 Challenge of Ireland at Glasson near Athlone, McGeady’s victory was the 11th by an Irish professional on all tours this season.

And he confessed that watching his pals rack up the wins has been an inspiration to him after two years of struggles on the Challenge Tour.

He said: “When you see people that you know go out there and win, it just gives you a wee morale boost and inspires you to play better golf.

“I played amateur golf with Graeme McDowell and he is doing fantastically well now and made the Ryder Cup team.”

The top 20 on the final Challenge Tour rankings earn tour cards and McGeady now has every chance of pulling it off thanks a win that improved his category and qualified him for virtually event event remaining this season.

McGeady said: “Getting on the main European Tour is the plan. You have to set you goals high. I didn't get off the to the start I envisioned when I turned pro but this gets me up where I thought I should be.

“I just have to keep going now and try and get into the top ten by the end of the season and get one of the best cards. The worst case scenario is the top 45, which gives me another crack at it in the Q School Finals.”

Gareth Maybin is 15th in the list and Michael Hoey 21st with 12 events of the season remaining.

And the progress of the Irish young guns this season is a testament to the work of the Irish Sports Council, which has pumped €70,000 into the €150,000 prize fund for this week’s Challenge of Ireland.

John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, said: “It is essential that a Challenge Tour event is hosted in Ireland. It complements the Team Ireland Golf Trust which is proving to be a very successful programme on behalf of aspiring touring professionals.”

Tom Reid and his wife Breda, the owners of Glasson Golf Hotel & Country Club, are hoping for a repeat of the carnival atmosphere that made the event such a massive success last year.

Tom said: “We got amazing feedback from the players who stayed here and played in the event last year. Their appreciation of the golf course, our new hotel and the stunning scenery on Lough Ree, really encouraged us to make this year’s tournament even bigger and better than the inaugural event.”