McBride to make professional debut at US Open qualifying

McBride to make professional debut at US Open qualifying
 Paul McBride (GB&I) watches his missed birdie putt on the 14th hole during singles at the 2017 Walker Cup at The Los Angeles Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Paul McBride (GB&I) watches his missed birdie putt on the 14th hole during singles at the 2017 Walker Cup at The Los Angeles Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Paul McBride believes he has the game to make an impact on tour and he will get first chance on Monday when he makes his professional debut in the US Open Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath.

The 22-year-old from The Island will join former Ireland teammate Gary Hurley in the Hambric Sports stable having graduated from Wake Forest University earlier this year.

A member of the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team, the Dubliner reach the semi-finals of the British Amateur in 2016 and the quarterfinals last year before finishing tied for 13th in the European Amateur Championship. 

He helped Ireland clinch its first medal, a bronze, in the  World Amateur Team Championship in 2016 and believes that with the gap between the professional and the amateur game shrinking all the time, there's no reason why he can't achieve his dreams.

 Early starter. Paul McBride aged two

Early starter. Paul McBride aged two

He points to the sensational performance by 19-year-old former world amateur No. 1 Joaquin Niemann in the Memorial Tournament, where he was tied for the lead at halfway, as a  sign that the gap between amateur golf and the professional game is narrowing.

"It's doable," said McBride, who made the cut on his only professional start, finishing tied 47th in last year's Porsche European Open.

"I think it is doable for any of the guys. The gap between the top amateurs and the professional game is so minimal right now and we can see that with Joaquín Niemann at the Memorial. 

"I think it's a very small gap now so I believe I can push on.

"I haven't got a set schedule yet but I am going to be represented by Hambric and the US Open qualifier is going to my first one."

McBride will not be part of the Team Ireland set up this year as he turned professional mid-season. But he still hopes to do well enough on Challenge Tour invitations organised via his management company to earn some status.

"I will be playing a lot of  Challenge Tour events this summer," he said.  "I did four years in college, I have a degree behind me and I played Walker Cup. I feel like I have done a lot in the amateur game. Except I didn't win anything. I am looking forward to playing, not at a different level, but in a different area of the game. 

"I have talked to all the boys and heard from Gavin [Moynihan], Gary [Hurley], Paul [Dunne], Cormac [Sharvin] and event to Stewwy [Stuart Grehan], who has just turned pro this year, to find out what it is like.

"I am looking forward to experiencing it for myself."

US Open Sectional Qualifying

Groupings and Tee Times (subject to change)

  • Lake Merced Golf Club & The Olympic Club (Ocean Course),  Daly City, Calif.
  • Walton Heath Golf Club (Old and New Courses), Surrey, England (Field available on Saturday, June 2) Paul McBride, Paul Dunne, Pádraig Harrington, Gavin Moynihan
  • The Bear's Club, Jupiter, Fla.
  • Ansley Golf Club (Settindown Creek Course, Roswell, Ga. 
  • Woodmont Country Club (North Course),  Rockville, Md.
  • Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses),  Summit, N.J.
  • Brookside Country Club & Lakes Country Club,  Columbus, Ohio - Shane Lowry
  • Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ohio 
  • Portland (Ore.) Golf Club , Portland, Ore.
  • Ridgeway Country Club & Colonial Country Club (South Course), Memphis, Tenn. - Seamus Power
  • Shadow Hawk Golf Club, Richmond, Texas, Richmond, Texas