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29th Aug 2014

Rising star of Irish golf: Kevin Phelan

The next name to join the cavalcade of Irish golf stars could be Waterford's Kevin Phelan

JOE

The next name to join the cavalcade of Irish golf stars could be Waterford’s Kevin Phelan

The Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Golf Skills Challenge, a competition to find Ireland’s most skilled amateur golfer, is underway with club events taking place up and down the country ahead of the national final in the GUI Academy this September. With that in mind, we thought it was great opportunity to profile one of the best Irish amateurs to recently go pro, Kevin Phelan.

Phelan was born in Waterford but moved to Florida as a kid and he is still based in the US, though he continues to play for Ireland. Phelan first came to our attention in 2010 when he qualified for the US Open as an amateur, aged just 19. Graeme McDowell won that Major and obviously garnered all the headlines but crafty golf watchers noted the young man who missed the cut.

As an amateur and college player in the US, Phelan had great success. He represented Ireland twice in the Eisenhower Cup and he reached the semi-finals of the US Amateur Public Links event.

By 2013, his profile was growing beyond the world of American golf. Phelan made his debut in the Walker Cup that year, winning two out of three points in a losing effort by Great Britain and Ireland against the US.

One of many highlights last year for Phelan was his performance at his second Major, the 2013 US Open. An opening round of 71 at Merion had Phelan near the head of the leaderboard and he made the cut, finishing 62nd overall by Sunday night.

The young golfer also showed tremendous steel to earn his card for the 2014 season, birdieing the last at Catalunya in Qualifying School Final Stage.

Phelan signed off on his breakout year with a stunning Top 25 place in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2013, his first event of the 2014 season.

And he has made great use of that card ever since, playing in 18 events and pocketing over €90,000 so far this year. Phelan’s biggest payday came at the Tshwane Open, where a sixth place finish saw him leave South Africa with a cool €44,000 in his back pocket.

Phelan has made the cut in three of his last four events (The Scottish and Russian Opens and the Czech Masters) and while he is unlikely to make the grade for the very lucrative Race to Dubai season ending series of events, he has had an excellent first year and we know he is only going to improve as he gets more familiar to life on Tour.

Phelan cites Padraig Harrington as his golfing icon and the three-time Major winner has passed on many tips to the youngster when they have played together. With that sort of support, and with his obvious talents, we’re expecting big things from Kevin Phelan.

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain is the official snack provider to the GUI National Golf Academy. 

The Top 60 qualifiers in this year’s Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Golf Skills Challenge from clubs up and down the country will progress to a National Final on 13th September. For more information and to view the national score board, visit http://bettergolf.ie/nutrigrain.aspx

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