Headfort's Rory McNamara will have to have a nightmare season not to get a Team Ireland Golf Trust grant next year after he carded a spectacular 63 — the lowest round of his fledgling career — to win his maiden professional title in Morocco.
The 26-year old took the €5,000 top prize and moved up to third in the satellite EPD Tour’s money list when he made seven birdies and an eagle in an immaculate, nine under par final round to win the Open The Tony Jacklin in Casablanca by a single stroke.
Based at La Cala, the former North and West of Ireland Amateur champion did not qualify for a Team Ireland grant this season because he finished 39th in the EPD Tour’s money list in 2015 - €1,800 outside the Top 30 requirement.
Rules are rules and while McNamara did not need any extra motivation this season, he certainly proved he is a deserving candidate for a helping hand after he came from four strokes behind leader Julian Kunzenbacher to win by one stroke from Germany’s Maximilian Walz and Austria's Bernard Neumayer on 16 under par.
“My putting was the key to success”, McNamara said after rounds of 68, 69 and 63 at The Tony Jacklin Golf Club in Casablanca.
For McNamara, who turned pro in October 2014, the win gives him a fighting chance of winning one of five Challenge Tour cards on offer to the top money winners at the end of the season.
“The golf course was in pretty good shape,” said McNamara, who had made three of four cuts this season before his victory . “The greens were nice and I was able to attack the flag.”
Royal County Down’s Reeve Whitson is now 42nd in the Order of Merit after picking up €457 for his share of 16th.
The former Spanish Amateur Open winner made eight birdies in a closing 66 to finish on nine under par.
Richard Bridges (67 74 70) tied for 37th on five under and is 50th in the money list from five starts with €989.
The EPD Tour (calendar) remains in Casablanca for the Open Casa Green Golf, which begins on Thursday.
Irish positions at The Tony Jacklin, Casablanca (Par 72)
1 MCNAMARA, Rory 68 69 63 200
T16 WHITSON, Reeve 68 73 66 207
T37 BRIDGES, Richard 67 74 70 211
MC O’DONOVAN, Richard 81 75 156