McNamara makes progress with Top 20 in Egypt
 Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith

Rory McNamara pocketed a small cheque for €1,970 but took a giant step forward in his career when he tied for 17th in the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge at Sokhna Golf Club.

The 26-year old former North and West of Ireland Amateur champion closed with a 69 on Saturday to finish on 11 under par in what was only his third start on the Challenge Tour.

He’s already clinched a place in next month’s Trophée Hassan II on the European Tour thanks mainly to his win in the Tony Jacklin Open on the satellite EPD Tour in Morocco earlier this year.

And Saturday’s result can only give him confidence as he battles to escape the mini tour grind and make a career as a tournament player in the big league.

As McNamara's hopes evaporated with a modest 72 in round three, the title went to England’s Jordan Smith, who clinched an emphatic, wire-to-wire victory by shooting a three under par 69 to reach 18 under par

The 23-year old, who gained his playing rights for the 2016 Road to Oman by topping the Order of Merit on the Euro Pro Tour last season.

A total of 23 birdies for the week was the key for the the Wiltshire-based player, who was understandably pleased after sealing the biggest victory of his career to date.

“I can’t quite get my head around it at the moment,” he said. “I can’t believe what’s just happened, I’m just speechless really, everything’s running through my mind and I’m trying to take it all in.

“I never really thought I could win on Challenge Tour this quickly, I’d hoped maybe for later in the year, but the last couple of weeks I’ve been hitting the ball the best I’ve ever hit it – that’s all down to my coach Simon.

“I could barely hold the putter on the 18th to be honest. It was nice having that two shot cushion coming down the last but it was all to play for down the stretch and I’m over the moon with how I managed to close it out.

“I hit a really nice rescue into the par three 16th to about a foot and a half and then birdied 17 and that sort of sealed it thankfully.

“Going wire to wire is physically and mentally draining so I’ve now got to get ready for next week in Spain – I might stay up and have a few drinks to celebrate but I’ve got an early bus tomorrow morning. I’ll enjoy this moment though.”

Smith was two shots clear of Switzerland’s Joel Girrbach, England’s Garrick Porteous and Austria’s Manuel Trappel, who all finished the week on 16 under par.

Amateur Champion Romain Langasque, who played in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National earlier this month, made a successful start to life as a professional golfer by finishing tied for third on 15 under par in his first tournament in paid ranks.

The 20 year old Frenchman, who finished second in the first event of the 2016 Road to Oman at the Barclays Kenya Open in Nairobi, was happy with his week and believes a first senior win is just around the corner.

“I am a very happy about how my game is,” he said. “Although I am disappointed not to win I am over all very pleased with how I have played this week.

“Today I played really well but I made a bogey on an easy par five where I played a perfect drive. I have hit the ball well off the tee all week and my putting was really good to – especially in my last two rounds.

“I have been in really good shape now for one or two months and I will just continue to play my game. Overall I am very pleased and it just means that I have to wait for my time but it will come.” 

Final scores

270 J Smith (Eng) 63 68 70 69, 

272 G Porteous (Eng) 69 69 66 68, M Trappel  (Aut) 70 69 66 67, J Girrbach (Sui) 70 65 68 69, 

273 B Stow (Eng) 69 70 69 65, L Gagli  (Ita) 67 68 70 68, E Kofstad (Nor) 66 69 69 69, J Blaauw  (RSA) 66 70 70 67, R Langasque  (Fra) 67 72 65 69, 

274 E Dubois (Fra) 68 70 66 70, 

275 D Frittelli (RSA) 68 69 69 69, S Henry  (Sco) 69 68 69 69, W Harrold (Eng) 74 66 64 71, 

276 M Delpodio  (Ita) 70 66 69 71, S Heisele (Ger) 67 71 68 70, G King (Eng) 73 68 65 70, 

277 A Tadini (Ita) 70 69 67 71, A Saddier (Fra) 68 68 69 72, P Mejow (Ger) 68 65 73 71, S Fernandez  (Esp) 68 69 69 71, C Ford (Eng) 70 67 67 73, R Roussel  (Fra) 71 69 68 69, M Pavon (Fra) 70 70 69 68, Rory McNamara  (Irl) 69 67 72 69, J Wrisdale (Eng) 67 72 68 70, 

278 O Stark (Swe) 70 68 72 68, J Lara (Esp) 71 69 66 72, M Wallace (Eng) 66 71 69 72, M Lundberg (Swe) 69 67 70 72, A Bernadet  (Fra) 71 67 67 73, B Parker  (Eng) 69 71 68 70, 

279 J Dantorp (Swe) 70 71 71 67, T Tree (Eng) 70 71 65 73, E Johansen  (Nor) 71 67 73 68, M Søgaard  (Den) 72 69 68 70, J Sjöholm (Swe) 69 68 71 71, J Stalter (Fra) 65 73 70 71, G Watremez (Bel) 72 66 69 72, 

280 B Rusch (Sui) 70 67 70 73, J White (Eng) 69 72 66 73, 

281 J Lando Casanova  (Fra) 67 73 71 70, T Murray (Eng) 72 68 68 73, D Law (Sco) 68 73 68 72, P Whiteford (Sco) 68 67 73 73, H Joannes  (Bel) 72 65 74 70, S Brown (Eng) 69 69 73 70, C Berardo (Fra) 71 70 69 71, J Glennemo (Swe) 69 71 74 67, 

282 C Del Moral (Esp) 71 68 72 71, T Ferrer  (Esp) 69 69 72 72, D Perrier (Fra) 70 71 72 69, J Barnes (Eng) 67 72 73 70, 

283 T Bakker (Fin) 69 71 70 73, S Tiley (Eng) 72 69 70 72, A Maestroni  (Ita) 68 71 72 72, F Bergamaschi (Ita) 67 72 70 74, G Piris Mateu (Esp) 67 72 75 69, 

284 H Casey (Eng) 68 71 75 70, G Woolgar (Eng) 71 69 68 76, 

285 M Simonsen  (Den) 71 70 74 70, T Pulkkanen  (Fin) 68 73 73 71, R Goger  (Aut) 67 74 70 74, 

286 R Cameron (Sco) 68 73 77 68, V Riu  (Fra) 68 71 73 74, 

288 D Wuensche  (Ger) 69 70 73 76, D Ulrich (Sui) 73 63 75 77, C Gloet  (Den) 73 68 74 73, 

CUT (141) 

144 Gareth Shaw (Nir) 71 73

145 Chris Selfridge  (Nir) 70 75

146 Gavin Moynihan (Irl) 74 72 

147 Alan Dunbar (Nir) 71 76

148 David Carey (Irl) 70 78, B Casey  (Irl) 73 75