Purcell pleased to grind out top-30 finish on professional debut

Brian Keogh  

Conor Purcell. Photo by Golffile

Portmarnock's Conor Purcell is looking forward to next week's star-studded Emirates Australian Open after grinding out a top 30 finish on his professional debut in Sydney.

The former South of Ireland and Australian Amateur champion (22) tied for 29th in the $400,000 AVJennings NSW Open on seven-under-par, ten strokes behind Australian's Josh Younger at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club.

"It was a great week," said Purcell, who won $2,560 after mixing 19 birdies with 12 bogeys over the four rounds, following an opening 74 with rounds of 67, 70 and 70. "I have plenty of good things to build on going into next week.

"I was very pleased with the way I fought back after a bad first day. I didn't have my A-game over the weekend, so it was nice to grind out two sub-par rounds.

"As I said the other day, making the cut in my first week is great. I'm really looking forward to the Australian Open now next week with a great field at the Australian. I've never played that course, but I've heard nothing but great things."

As Purcell takes his first tentative steps in the professional game, John Younger (35) claimed his first win after 13 winless years in the paid ranks.

Leading by two strokes playing the 72nd hole, he hooked his tee shot into a lake a made a double bogey but went on to beat Travis Smyth when he hit his approach to six feet to set up a birdie at the first extra hole and win $72,000.

"It's a relief," said Younger, who shot 71 to tie with Smyth on 17-under par, one stroke clear of the promising young Australian Min Woo Lee.

"I've been [a professional for] 10 years. It's just so hard to win. That's the reality of it. There's 150 blokes every week, and the competition is that good now. Sometimes the cards have got to fall your way. Normally you make six down the last, and it's all over. You can have your best tournament, and someone plays better. It's a massive relief."

The stakes will be higher in the $1.5 million Emirates Australian Open where defending champion Abraham Ancer, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Marc Leishman, Paul Casey and Louis Oosthuizen are all expected to tee it up.

AVJennings NSW Open

Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club


1 Josh Younger 63 70 67 71 271

2 Travis Smyth 65 69 66 71 271

3 Min Woo Lee 64 67 68 73 272

4 Justin Warren 64 71 64 74 273

5 Andrew Dodt 69 61 72 73 275

6 Denzel Ieremia 74 66 67 69 276

T7 Andrew Martin 69 72 69 67 277

T7 James Marchesani 69 68 71 69 277

T7 Jake Higginbottom 71 66 68 72 277

T10 Ben Eccles 69 73 71 65 278

T10 Brody Martin 69 70 73 66 278

T10 Peter Lonard 68 73 71 66 278

T10 Christopher Wood 69 68 71 70 278

T10 Max McCardle 70 70 66 72 278

T29 Conor Purcell 74 67 70 70 281

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