Neil seeks Challenge Tour chances
 Neil O'Briain. Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images

Neil O'Briain. Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images

Old Conna professional Neil O’Briain is desperate for some Challenge Tour starts after narrowly missing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open cut at The K Club.

The former Royal Dublin star, 29, is a popular pro at the south Dublin club where he teaches a string of young guns including Padraig Harrington’s son Paddy.

But he reckons he has the game to compete on tour and while a second successive 74 left on four over, he’s clearly got plenty of game.

After teeing up with fellow PGA pro Damian Mooney and Aussie left hander Richard Green, O’Briain said: “I got some good feedback from Richard and that’s encouraging. I definitely think I could get out here.  

“Q-School is a very expensive exercise and I may go again but it would be great to get some more experience and I’d love to get a Challenge Tour invitation or two in Ireland this year.

“I played quite well in Galgorm Castle last year and I was in the top 10 going into the last round. So I know my game is good enough to compete. 

“But I also know it still needs a lot of work and I got some really good advice from the caddie Colin Byrne earlier this year. Basically, I have to work harder and get better.” 

One of the top players in Irish Region of the PGA, O’Briain knows his long game let him down at The K Club where seven birdies were cancelled out by nine bogeys and a double bogey.

He confessed: “I struggled a lot with the driver which is usually one of my strong points.

“It just wasn’t there the last couple of days and it’s very difficult to create a score in bad conditions without having your long game at your best. 

“I’m pleased I stuck in there because it could have got away from me. So it’s a case of so near and yet so far.”