Old Joe’s Golf Club professional Barrie Trainor is hoping to use his local knowledge to gatecrash the top 20 on home soil in the Irish Open.
The 32-year-old 2011 Irish PGA Order of Merit winner tees off at Carton House in the PGA European Tour event later today from a field which contains seven major winners.
But the Cornard Tye-based professional will fly the flag for Suffolk believing he can go the distance with Irish stars Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and world number two Rory McIlroy — the latter who he beat in a scratch matchplay event in 2006.
“I am aiming for the top 20 to be honest,” said the player who finished 66th in 2010’s event to end the event among the prize money.
“I won the Irish Assistants Championship on this course in 2006 and I have had a few good scores on this golf course.
“The top 20 might be a little ambitious, but I believe I can do it.”
Trainor, playing in the Irish Open for the fifth time, will tee off at Carton House at 2.20pm in confident mood, having just won the PGA East Region Championship at Essendon Country Club in Hertfordshire last week.
He said: “Shooting 66 (six under par second round) was good to do as I have not done it for a little while and it was good to boost confidence and hole a few putts.”
Trainor, originally from Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland, ended seven under par for the tournament and his second round included six birdies and an eagle.
He swapped the glamour of the PGA European Tour for coaching in the tranquillity of the Suffolk countryside after six years as a playing professional in January.
His sixth-place finish in the PGA play-off in Turkey in December earned him a tee off at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in Surrey in May, but a disastrous second round of 82 left him 13 over par and at the back of the leaderboard when the cut was made.
But with his fiancée Charlene and six-year-old son Tiernan among the Irish crowd supporting him, he is confident his game is coming together well ahead of partnering European Tour winning pair José Manuel Lara, of Spain, and Maarten Lafeber, of the Netherlands.
“I had good practice days here and last week was the first time I’ve been able to hit the ball exactly where I am aiming it,” he said, speaking from Maynooth in County Kildare, near Dublin, yesterday.
“Round here the bunkers are really deep and you can be in real trouble if you end up in them — you have got to know where the driver is going.”
n Stoke-by-Nayland’s Scott Brace missed the cut by two shots in his first professional tournament in the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour PDC and World Snooker Open at Collingtree Park Golf Club in Northampton from last Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Glemsford resident was five over par after the first four holes, but managed to finish the tournament at three over.
Brace will return to Filford Heath in Oxfordshire, where he secured his PGA EuroPro tour card in qualifying school in April, for The Buildbase Open from tomorrow.
Stoke-by-Nayland’s playing professional Jamie Moul missed the cut on his two most recent PGA Challenge Tour tournaments.
He was not able to make the weekend rounds at the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open presented by Neuflize OBC in Lmbres, France (+3, tied 93rd) and last week’s Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts in Aviemore, Scotland (level par, tied 104th).