McElroy to remain amateur until the summer
 Despite his run to the Final Stage of the European Tour Q-School, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy has resisted the temptation to turn professional straight away. Picture by Pat Cashman /  www.cashmanphotography.ie

Despite his run to the Final Stage of the European Tour Q-School, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy has resisted the temptation to turn professional straight away. Picture by Pat Cashman / www.cashmanphotography.ie

Dermot McElroy will remain amateur until after next June's British Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush and Portstewart - at the very least.

The 20-year old Ballymena talent made it to the Final Stage of this year's European Tour Qualifying School in Girona but missed the 72-hole cut.

As a result, he failed to win a full Challenge Tour card and while he's determined to join the paid ranks, he's decided to remain amateur until the middle of the summer at least.

"I am going to start the season as an amateur and then decide after the British Amateur," said McElroy, who would get several Challenge Tour starts as well as additional invitations based on his category. "So I will start my season in South Africa at the end of January and then play the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy in India in March before heading to Sligo for the West."

McElroy will be joined in South Africa for the Free State & Northern Cape Stroke Play Championship (31 January – 2 February) at Schoeman Park Golf Club by Irish Amateur Open champion Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan), Jack Hume (Naas), Gary Hurley (West Waterford), Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock), West of Ireland champion Rory McNamara (Headfort), North of Ireland winner Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park) and  Reeve Whitson (Mourne), the reigning Spanish Amateur Open champion.

They will then travel to Johannesburg and play in the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Benoni Country Club from 4–7 February, accompanied by National Coach Neil Manchip and Lucan's Tony Goode, the team manager.

McElroy will not be making the trip to Portugal for the Portuguese Amateur Open Championship as it comes just days after he returns from South Africa.

Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park), Robin Dawson (Faithlegg), Paul McBride (The Island) and Richard O’Donovan (Lucan) will tee it up at Montado Golf Resort from 12-15 February. 

However, he has been selected by the European Golf Association to represent Europe in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy at Karnataka Golf Association Bengaluru in India from March 26-28 for the biannual match against Asia-Pacific.
 
McElroy will be joined by University of Alabama and Walker Cup star Gavin Moynihan from The Island with side completed by England's Ashley Chesters and Ryan Evans, Finn Albert Eckhardt, Germany's Dominic Foos and Maximilian Roehrig, Spain's Mario Galiano Aguilar, Scotland's Bradley Neil and James Ross, Italy's Renato Paratore and Denmark's Mads Soegaard.