Conor O'Rourke, Naas
A brillaint opening front nine set Conor O'Rourke on the way to victory in the K Club Pro-Am. The 28-year-old posted an eight-under-par 64 on the Palmer North course on Thursday to win by four shots from Colm Moriarty (Glasson GC).
Padraig Harrington carded a two-over-par 74 that left him in a share of 22nd, it was Harrington's first competitive fame for the first time since March. The Ryder Cup captain will compete in next week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Galgorm Castle and was able to dust off some of the cobwebs in Kildare.
In comparison, O'Rourke Naas man O'Rourke came into the event on a run of good form and on the back of a recent win at Luttrellstown where he carded a six-under-par 66.
“I've been working really hard and the last couple of rounds have finally paid some dividends. It was nice to be able to capitalise on the chances that were being offered,” said Conor who made the most of the invite offered to him by K Club owner Michael Fetherston.
O'Rourke produced some early fireworks in Straffan reaching the turn in 29 shots with birdies at the first, third, fifth, seventh, eighth, and ninth. His back nine, in comparison, was staid but he still managed to come home in two under 35 with birdies at the 10th, 17th, and 18th offset by a dropped shot at the par-three 14th.
Conor added; “I went a bit mad on the front nine there and the putter got hot. To be honest I played some lovely golf and got it rolling on the greens. It was a combination of everything, not just the putting. I stuck it in nice and close on seven and eight and then rolled in a 20 footer on nine, followed by a 35 footer on 10.
“I was in the groove at that stage, I was only seeing pins and birdies. I have got more comfortable with keeping the foot down when it's on. It's something I have worked on."