Phelan set for KLM Open debut

Kevin Phelan (GB&I) watches his tee shot on the seventh hole during the singles match at the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y. on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)Waterford Castle’s Kevin Phelan will make his professional debut in this week’s KLM Open at Kennemer.

The 22-year old, who won two points out of three for Great Britain in Ireland in last weekend’s 17-9 defeat to the United States in New York, has joined Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management stable.

“Chubby has been excellent,” he said. “Very helpful so far and I am looking forward to have a good relationship there where we can do well for each other.

“With Alan Dunbar also in the ISM stable it will be great to have someone I know so well there for the odd word of advice. I am very happy with my decision to go with Chubby, so hopefully it will go well.”

Phelan, who made the cut and finished 62nd in the US Open at Merion in June, will attempt to win his tour card on both sides of the Atlantic.

He has entered Stage One of the European Tour Qualifying School and will tee it up at Ribagolfe in Portugal from Sep 24 - 27. He is exempt into stage two of Q-School for the Tour in the US thanks to his performance in the US Open.

“I really have no preference where I play once I have a steady card and steady stream of events to play in. I like both the US and Europe and I am very fond of both places and I’d be delighted with either card.

“Hopefully I will have a chance of winning my European Tour card because I feel like I am playing well enough to do well at the Q-School, but we’ll just take it one week at a time, stick to our guns and hopefully do well.”

ISM’s chief executive Chandler said: “We have been impressed by everything about Kevin and I am sure he will go as far as he wants to in golf.”

Phelan was raised in Waterford before moving to St. Augustine, Florida, and studied at the nearby University of North Florida. He has a rich sporting heritage, which includes his father, John, playing professional squash. His brother, Brian, is also a university golfer in America.

Phelan will be joined at Kennemer by Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Simon Thornton, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Paul McGinley, Gareth Maybin and David Higgins.

Harrington fell one place to 92nd in the latest world rankings following a disappointing weekend in the Omega European Masters.

After opening rounds of 70 and 65 put him in contention, Harrington shot a one over 72 on Saturday and a two over 73 on Sunday to slip to joint 41st.

Harrington had 21 birdies, compared to 22 birdies by tournament winner Thomas Bjorn. However, while Bjorn had just two bogeys all week, Harrington also had 13 bogeys and two double bogeys.