Derry's Michael McGeady will compete in his first European Tour event when he tees up in this week’s Joburg Open. 

McGeady, who finished 42nd in the 2008 Challenge Tour Rankings, finished his season in agonising fashion after he missed out on a European Tour card by just one shot at the Qualifying School – Final Stage.

But the gentle giant has already banished the painful memories of his missed par putt on the last hole at PGA Golf de Catalunya, and is keen to accentuate the positives of a season which saw him lift his maiden professional title at the SWALEC Wales Challenge.

McGeady said: “Despite the disappointment at the Tour School it was still a great year for me overall, and doing so well has got me a good card for this year which will hopefully allow me to pick and choose which tournaments I play in.

“My category will probably get me into about ten main Tour events, but I’ll be concentrating mainly on the Challenge Tour to try to get a full Tour card for next season.

“I’ve always been a bit of a late developer, but now everything seems to be moving in the right direction.”

McGeady has enjoyed an extended break from golf over the holiday period, having recently married his fiancée Lisa. But after returning to practice last week, he now feels fit and raring to go again.

He said: “I hadn’t picked up a club for six weeks after the Tour school, so I spent some time on the range at my local golf centre last week.

“Making the cut or maybe even sneaking a top ten finish would be a great week for me, but I’ve no real goals in mind other than to go out there and enjoy it. This is my first European Tour event, so I want to make the most of it.”

This week McGeady is sharing a room with fellow Irishman and former Challenge Tour Member Michael Hoey, who finished 28th in the final Rankings but managed to secure a European Tour card at the Qualifying School – Final Stage.  

McGeady said: “Seeing Michael get his card at the Tour School gave me a real lift. I know his game inside out, and it would be great if I could join him on the main Tour next season.”