'This Time Last Year I Had Nothing, I Had No Sponsors, Nothing'

Ireland's Gary Hurley began this season with a card on the Alps Tour, now he's booked his place on the DP World Tour

Gary Hurley
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gary Hurley turned pro in 2015 with a handicap of +5. On his CV already was being part of a victorious Walker Cup team, where he contributed two and a half points from four matches against a team which included Bryson DeChambeau, and the prospect of very bright career in the paid ranks.

But since then Hurley has had to do it the hard way. There have been a grand total of 14 starts on the main DP World Tour along with 60 tournaments on the Challenge Tour which have resulted in winnings of €56k. 

This year he won on the Alps Tour where he finished in 5th spot on the money list to secure his status back on the Challenge Tour. Now he has leapfrogged all of that with his brilliant efforts at the final stage of the DP World Tour Qualifying School.

The West Waterford player, which is also Seamus Power’s home course, will get a full season on the main tour. This time last year things looked very different for Hurley but a tie for 13th this week has never looked so good.

“This time last year I had nothing, I had no sponsors, nothing. I convinced some guys to help me out over the winter and I convinced them that this was going somewhere and that the work that I was putting in was going to mean something,” an emotional Hurley said afterwards. 

The 29-year-old was in good shape all week after a pair of 65s on the Lakes Course at Infinitum and three birdies in his first 11 holes meant that he was comfortably inside the top 25. But then a pair of bogeys at the next two holes wobbled the ship slightly before a brilliant birdie two at the 14th steadied things. Four closing pars got him home where he finished in a tie with the likes of Marcel Siem, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and former GM columnist Sam Hutsby. 

Q School

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hurley was also joined inside the top 25 by his countryman John Murphy, who birdied two of his last three holes to squeeze in on the mark, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat (4th) was another to make it through.

“I was brilliant today, brilliant with my approach shots and my mindset. A lot of things tried to pull me away, especially yesterday evening when I had a big reset with my coach. I just got back to me again and that's where I was today - I was happy and smiling on the course and just proud of what I'm doing and the way that I'm doing it now because it wasn't long ago that I wasn't doing it great,” added Hurley.

“It was really painful for me playing golf so it's great to have this. I was playing on the Alps Tour this year which was really big step for me as well and that platform allowed me to secure my Challenge Tour card. Now I’ve leapfrogged straight to the main tour which is great. My family have been really supportive, my girlfriend has been so supportive through times that you wouldn't even believe where I was at one point in my life. I can't wait to share this with them.”

And if you want a bit of an insight into how Hurley has rejigged his golfing life, and the work that he’s been doing with Dr Edward Coughlan, then this does a fairly good job. When asked about the prospect of being on the range with the star names of the DP World Tour, Hurley explained how he’s got a handle of what clearly works best for him. 

“The work that I'm doing is about the occasion fading away and it doesn't really matter where you're playing or what you're playing for or who you're playing with, it's just you versus you all the time. I've been doing that all year and all week and all last week (at Second Stage). It’s been a little bit tougher the last couple of weeks as there's more noise and today was the truest test and I'm proud of myself. The work continues, regardless of whether I had got my card this week, it’s bigger than Q School and you would know that if you knew where I had come from.”

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.