Brendan McCarroll is hoping that local knowledge could prove decisive in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open qualifier at Rosapenna Golf Resort this weekend.
The 32-year-old has lived in Letterkenny for the last 18 years and has spent many hours battling the elements on the testing Sandy Hill Links course, venue for Saturday and Sunday's 36-hole event.
“I grew up playing golf at Ballyliffin but with Rosapenna being 40 minutes down the road I've got a lot of time tucked away on these greens,” said Brenda, who now represents West Cliffs Golf Club.
“This is the type of course that you really don't need to attack off the tee.
“You have to play it smart. A lot of people who haven't played the course before tend to have a crack at it and then they find themselves in knee-high rough which is never good.”
The Derry-born golfer has been performing strongly on the EuroPro Tour in recent weeks. He lost out to Mark Young in a play-off at the Jessie May World Snooker Golf Championship at Clevedon Golf Club, Somerset but confidence is high heading into the weekend.
He continued; “Last year I switched coach mid-season and I'm now working with Barrie McGoldrick at Galgorm Castle.
“I have done some good work with him and maybe, my course management has improved. We worked it out the other day that over my last 13 rounds, I'm 47 under par.
“Knowing that, when I do go out on the course I feel that I can shoot under par all the time.”
Players coming off the course after Friday's practice round were remarking about how hard and fast the links was playing as a result of the hot, dry spell.
“It is going to be a test of patience,” said in-form Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching).
McGeady, who is currently leading the PGA in Ireland Order of Merit, has also been a regular visitor to Rosapenna over the years but admitted that he had never played it under these conditions.
“I've never seen it so dry but hopefully local knowledge will be useful, especially around the greens using the slopes and undulations to get the ball close,” he said.
“I have a game plan but it is a bit of a lottery out there. You could play quite well and get a few bad bounces and shoot three or four over.
“You will see a lot of people hitting irons off tees and using the putter to keep it on the ground around the greens. It's running so hard and fast that keeping it on the greens downwind is very tough.
“Before this dry spell I thought six or seven under could get you in the mix but, it will be much less than that now, maybe two under?”
The field of 122 players is competing for a first prize of €6000 and one of four spots in next week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin.
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Qualifier, Rosapenna Golf Hotel (Sandy Hills Links)
4 to qualify after 36 holes
Round One (Saturday, July 30)
- 7:10 David Ruddy (Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort), Eric Byrne (St Anne’s Golf Club);
- 7:20 Gareth McCausland (Ballyliffin), Alan Dunbar (Elm Park), Michael Alexander (Holywood);
- 7:30 Matthew Cochrane (Edenmore Golf & Country Club), Noel Callan (Faughan Valley), Michael O’Shea (Rathsallagh);
- 7:40 Harry Coyne (Carton House), Rory McNamara (Unatt.), Shane Jenkinson (St Margaret’s Golf & CC);
- 7:50 Seamus Clinton (Gormastown DR), Sebastien McShane (Carton House), Thomas Minshull (Royal Portrush);
- 8:00 Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching), Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort), Mark Staunton (Delgany);
- 8:10 David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Neil O’Briain (Old Conna);
- 8:20 Tim Rice (Limerick), Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge), Cian McNamara (Monkstown);
- 8:40 Damian Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), Brendan McCarroll (West Cliffs), Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC);
- 8:50 Robert Giles (Greenore), Donal Gleeson (Old Conna), Brian McElhinney (North West);
- 9:00 Joe Dillon (Headfort), Daniel Brennan (Unatt.), Brian O’Reilly (Glenlo Abbey);
- 9:10 Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny), Michael McDermott (Grange), Ciaran Molloy (Ardee);
- 9:20 Dara Lernihan (Bray), Peter Martin (Colin Park Golf Academy), Colm Crowley (Unatt.)
- 9:30 James Quinlivan (Mullingar), Glen Robinson (Craddockstown), Kevin Phelan (Mt Juliet)
- 9:40 Adam Dunmore (Bundoran), Padraig Dooley (Drive Golf Performance Ltd), Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint, Am)
- 9:50 Eoin O’Connor (Kilkenny), Matthew Dunmore (Bundoran), Shane Peacock (Unatt);
- 10:00 Conor O’Rourke (Unatt.), Andy Hogan (Edmondstown), Leslie Walker (Dundalk);
- 10:20 David Carey (Unatt), David Barry (Douglas), Mark Whelan (Castlewarden);
- 10:30 Steven Quinlan (Halpenny Golf Club), John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Mark O’Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre);
- 10:40 Christopher Carvill (Belvoir Park), Gary Madden (Glenlo Abbey), Michael Mulryan (Cregboy Golf Academy);
- 10:50 Gary Wardlow (Spa), Mark Murphy (Mount Wolseley), James Wood (Highgate Golf Club);
- 11:00 Seamus Duffy (Seamus Duffy Golf Academy), Peter O’Hagan (Luttrellstown Castle), Daniel Sugrue (Dooks);
- 11:10 Noel Murray (Unatt), Mark O’Sullivan (Piltown Driving Range), Patrick Small (Galway);
- 11:20 Stephen McCarthy (Black Bush), Reese Black (Hilton Templepatrick, Am), Brendan Walton (Roganstown Golf & CC);
- 11:40 Peter Morgan (Elm Park), Brian Doheny (Callan);
- 12:00 David Allen (Newtownstewart), Shane Ryan (Thurles), Andrew Owens (Ballyclare);
- 12:10 Roy O’Neill (Galway), Paul O’Connor (The Island), Brian Kerley (Ardee GC);
- 12:20 James Sugrue (Mallow, Am), Paul O’Neill (Shannon), Enda Maguire (Co. Louth);
- 12:30 Ted Higgins (TedHiggins.com), Jack Hume (Unatt.), Keith Shannon (Cloverhill GC);
- 12:40 David Leathem (Unatt.), Kieran James (Unatt), Niall McGlynn (GUI National Academy);
- 12:50 Patrick Geraghty (Druids Glen), Conor Coyne (Lisheen Springs), Scott Kirkpatrick (Laytown & Bettystown);
- 1:00 David Hughes (Massereene); Donal Murphy (Grange Castle), Josh Adams (Stackstown);
- 1:10 Andrew Peoples (Darren Clarke Golf School), Shane Franklin (Cregmore Park), Neil Graham (Portstewart);
- 1:20 Wesley Ramsay (Knockbracken Golf Academy), Rob Brazill (Naas, Am), Jack Howard (Fota Island);
- 1:40 Raymond Ryan (Thurles), Daniel O’Connor (Athlone), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore);
- 1:50 Jake Whelan (Newlands, Am), Shaun Doherty (Ballyliffin), Iarlaith Keane (Kinsealy Grange Golf Academy);
- 2:00 Bernard Quigley (Tullamore), Richard Weldon (Black Bush), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas, Am);
- 2:10 Brian Sweeney (Naas), Mark Sutton (Hollywood Lakes), Padraig McGrath (P & M Golf Superstore);
- 2:20 Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel), Brian McCormack Jnr (Royal Dublin), Brian Casey (Unatt.);
- 2:30 Ronan Collins (Fota Island), Karl Goodwin (Beaverstown), Barry Davis (Greystones);
- 2:40 Alan Staunton (Hollywood Lakes), Diarmaid Fraser (Killarney Golf & Fishing Club), Nicholas Grant (Blackwood Golf Centre);
- 2:50 Alec Myles (Bray), Daniel Crowley (Fota Island).