McBride seeks more consistency as pro moves looms

McBride seeks more consistency as pro moves looms
 Paul McBride (Ireland) on the 15th green during the third day of the Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club, Leeds, England. Picture: Golffile | Thos Caffrey

Paul McBride (Ireland) on the 15th green during the third day of the Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club, Leeds, England. Picture: Golffile | Thos Caffrey

Paul McBride will become the 43rd Irishman to tee it up for Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup matches next week, and he's hoping that his consistency will pay dividends and help bring home the trophy.

The 21-year old Wake Forest star might not have won a major amateur event over the past two years, but he believes his improved putting and his solid, all-around game will stand to him as he prepares to join the professional ranks next year.

"I played well this year and very nicely in America," said the man from The Island, who will be the lone Irishmen in the GB&I side at Los Angeles Country Club. 

"That helped me to get on the team. I had one bad tournament — I missed the cut in St Andrews — but other than that I was really solid. 

"And that's what I am trying to build my game around — being solid, not making many mistakes or having wild scores. I just want to be consistent."

McBride is dreaming of a career in the professional ranks and showed by making the cut with ease in the Porsche European Open on the European Tour last month (thanks to an invitation organised by the US arm of 4Sports) that he is comfortable at that level.

But he remains undecided about when he will take the plunge and is looking instead to play well in the Walker Cup and again in his final year for Wake Forest before making up his mind.

"I might turn pro straight after graduation from Wake Forest or wait until after the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House," he said. "I need to talk with a few people about that and see what I want to do.

"The only thing I am thinking about now is the Walker Cup and I think we have a really good team. 

"It's bittersweet to be the only Irishman, to be honest. But the team itself is great. Looking through the names you realise that the lads have had great summers and there have been a lot of wins. 

"So it's very positive to have a lot of winners in the team and we are a more experienced team that the Americans too so hopefully we can give it a good go."

Having played for three years in the US, McBride is not overawed by the Americans or what might lie in store in Los Angeles.

 Paul McBride in action for Wake Forest University

Paul McBride in action for Wake Forest University

"I am sure LA will set up very much in favour of the Americans — a long golf course with fast greens where you can bomb it anywhere," he said. "But we have some very big hitters too in Jack Davidson and Harry Ellis, who is as long as anyone. 

"The American will always have a strong team. They have a lot more players to choose from, and they have a lot of good players and lads that I know. But they are nothing special, just another team. 

"Nobody jumps out at me because I know them all so well and have played with them. They have all played well this summer."

McBride knows Wake Forest team mate Will Zalatoris better than most, but with one eye on his future in the professional game, he looks to players like his club mate Gavin Moynihan and former Irish team mate Paul Dunne for inspiration.

"I've played with Gavin quite a bit, and I played practice rounds with 'Dunner' in Germany. He's always been excelled around the greens, and when he drives it well, that's when he plays his best. Mentally, he is fantastic too. He is not flustered by anything, and he's a superb role model when it comes to the mental game."

After finishing tied for 47th in Germany, McBride knows his game is not far from professional standard,  believing the amateur game has closed the gap. 

"I was happy with how I played in Germany," he said. "While the standard is good, I think the amateur game is catching up with the professional game. It's not near it yet, but I played relatively well and made the cut. But I wouldn't have won an amateur event playing that way."