Walker Cup stars Gary Hurley and Jack Hume will be teeing up in the Challenge Tour's Volopa Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley in Co Carlow next month.
Hurley has enjoyed a superb final season as an amateur, finishing runner-up in both the Spanish Amateur Championship and the European Amateur Championship, culminating in Walker Cup selection.
Hume has had a similarly eye-catching year, with four top ten finishes on the European amateur circuit earning him a spot in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team along with Hurley, Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin.
After a memorable weekend on the links of Royal Lytham and St Annes, Hurley is excited to be leaving the amateur ranks behind on a high as he ventures into the professional game with a trip to the First Qualifying Stage Section of the Q-School in Scotland this week.
“I cannot wait to play on home soil so soon after turning professional,” 22 year old Hurley said. “I know we’re going to have a great week at Mount Wolseley.
“It’s been a great year for us Irish players, with five of us getting selected for the Walker Cup, so it feels fitting to be coming to the Volopa Irish Challenge so soon after that.
“The Irish public are always so passionate in their support of Irish golf and Irish events so it is great that the Challenge Tour is returning to Ireland. Hopefully I can have a memorable week.”
Hume is going to Q-School as an amateur and it's unlikely he will turn professional unless he wins a strong Challenge Tour card.
Along with a healthy sprinkling of native talent, headed by Ruaidrhi McGee, currently just outside the top 15 in the Road to Oman Rankings who earn graduation to The European Tour for next season, a strong field is expected at Mount Wolseley, with just two events on the Challenge Tour calendar after the Volopa Irish Challenge.
All eyes inevitably fall on the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Muscat, Oman at the start of November, so the Volopa Irish Challenge is one of the last chances for valuable Rankings points and as such none of the leading players will want to miss it.
It also marks the return of the Challenge Tour to the Republic of Ireland after a six year absence and will be the only men’s professional golf tournament taking place in Ireland this year.
The Challenge Tour will be visiting Mount Wolseley Hotel, Golf and Spa for the first time and it promises to be a venue offering both world class hospitality and a genuine top class challenge for all the players.
The course, designed by Christy O’Connor Jnr, who is also a tournament ambassador, will provide a stern but enjoyable test for both the Challenge Tour’s finest and the fine array of Irish golfers hoping to join them in the near future.
The absence, so far, of Dunne and Moynihan from the field for Mount Wolseley might indicate that they are going to be invited to play in the clashing British Masters presented by Sky Sports at Woburn.
Moynihan's management group, ISM, is heavily involved in the event.