Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Purcell off to bright start in Belgium – Irish Golfer Magazine

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Conor Purcell looked comfortable making the step up to the DP World Tour after he opened his Soudal Open campaign with a stress free 67.

Purcell sits in a share of 15th place on four-under-par five shots behind leader Sam Jones who roared to the top with three birdies in a row and an albatross on the back nine.

There were no such fireworks for Purcell on day one but he was solid, rolling in birdies on the 2nd, 8th, 13th and 16th.

New Zealand’s Jones is the unlikely leader at the top after a superb 62.

The Kiwi arrived at Rinkven International Golf Club 168th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex but found his form in stunning fashion, carding a 62 to get to nine under and lead the way from English duo Matthew Jordan and Andrew Wilson, Spaniard Nacho Elvira, Frenchman Romain Langasque and Dane Niklas Norgaard.

He was three under for his round stood on the 14th tee but rattled off a hat-trick of birdies before sinking a three wood from 273 yards on the par-five 17th for the first albatross of the season to catapult himself into the lead.

The 27-year-old rookie only turned professional two weeks before securing his card at the Qualifying School in November but is already enjoying landmark days with a first career albatross and what would have been a course record had preferred lies not been in place.

“I’m taking it as it comes,” he said. “The first few months have been pretty good, golf has been average but it’s been pretty good the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to getting into this European Swing.”

The albatross made it six shots picked up in four holes and Jones revealed he would have played a lay up had it not been for the previous three birdies.

“Initially it was going to be a three-shot, was going to lay it up,” he said.

“Thought about three iron off the tee, hit three wood, pulled it a little bit but hit it nicely.

“Got up there, had 248 metres to the flag, said to my caddie Keith that it was the perfect three wood, into the breeze a little bit.

“I was going well already at that stage so I thought if I made a bogey it was no big deal. Just hit it, flushed it, called to it to be good in the air and it was. First ever albatross, not a bad place to do it.”

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