by Ronan MacNamara
Cormac Sharvin by Golffile
As ever the tournament after a major championship can often struggle to whet the appetite and that is the case with the Wales Open (although we must call it the Cazoo Open). The most bizarre thing about this event is that much of the hype has stemmed from happenings off the golf course. Footballing superstar Gareth Bale is playing host this week and will most likely use his time to work on lowering his golf handicap. Maybe it really is Wales. Golf. Madrid, for the Galactico.
Unfortunately, that is where the buzz for the event ends in truth. Robert MacIntyre has withdrawn after his top-10 finish at the Open, instead opting to play in the 3M Open on the PGA Tour. This is understandable as a top-10 across the Atlantic might serve him better than a win at Celtic Manor this week. The Scotsman is also bidding to earn temporary status on the PGA Tour for next year as the belief he belongs at the top level grows with each passing week.
On a more positive note, opportunity knocks for John Murphy, James Sugrue and Gavin Moynihan as the Challenge Tour trio step up a tier and join Cormac Sharvin, Niall Kearney and Paul Dunne in Celtic Manor this week.
Sharvin has shown signs that he does belong on Europe’s top tier as of late. The Ardglass man has picked up valuable Race To Dubai points in his last two starts and has given himself every chance of retaining his full playing privileges.
In truth, the 28-year-old would be even higher in the rankings had it not been for Sunday rounds of 72 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the abrdn Scottish Open.
Currently ranked 133rd, the Challenge Tour graduate is just outside the coveted top 129 with plenty of the season remaining.
Dubliner Niall Kearney is one spot outside the 129 in 130th as he looks to regain the form he showed in the Canary Islands earlier in the season.
Kearney has missed four of his last five cuts, with a share of 12th place at the BMW International Open arresting that run. The 33-year-old needs to take advantage of the depleted field this week and give his season a boost ahead of a busy UK swing between now and September.
Paul Dunne is in desperate need of a spark as he looks to arrest a run of RETD and three consecutive missed cuts.
The Greystones man is 207th in the Race to Dubai and has struggled for form all season since returning from a persistent wrist injury.
John Murphy has enjoyed a quick start to his professional career and has a free hit this week at the Cazoo Open. The Kinsale man arrives in some good form after finishing in a share of 11th in the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge on the Challenge Tour a fortnight ago.
John Murphy by Golffile
The former Walker Cup star is joined by former Amateur Champion, James Sugrue who has also been in solid form on the Challenge Tour.
The Mallow native has two top-25 finishes on the Challenge Tour as he eases his way into the professional ranks.
James Sugrue by Golffile
Gavin Moynihan has endured a torrid time as of late and he arrives in Wales looking to bounce back after missing his last two cuts on both tours.
The Alps Tour may be on the back burner until next month but there is a packed Irish contingent on the Europro tour.
Daniel Brennan, Connor Coyne, Stuart Grehan, John Hickey, Brendan McCarroll and Ronan Mullarney are all in action in the Orida Championship at Park Wood Golf Club in Westerham.
Tom McKibbin, Michael Hoey and Conor Purcell will all be in action on the Challenge Tour in the Italian Challenge.
Seamus Power is taking a well-earned rest after his stunning victory last week on the PGA Tour, meaning there is no Irish interest across the Atlantic this week.