David Carey chasing PGA Tour dream in Texas after exclusion from Sport Ireland grant scheme

David Carey

Brian Keogh

Big-hitting David Carey sensationally Monday qualified for this week's $8.9million Valero Texas Open after being turned down for a grant by the Golf Ireland Professional Scheme for 2023.

The Dubliner (26) fired an eight-under 64 to win the pre-qualifier last week, then blasted eight birdies in a seven-under 65 at Fair Oaks to win the 74-man Monday qualifier and one of four spots on offer in this week’s PGA Tour stop.

The winner will pocket $1.6 million, a PGA Tour exemption and a spot in the Masters and Carey hopes to take advantage of his chance in an event where he could earn $19,000 just for making the cut.

"It's always nice to shoot a few good scores and start seeing some results after a long winter's work," said Carey, who shot to fame last summer when he qualified for The 150th Open at St Andrews, made the cut and tied for 62nd with the likes of Ian Poulter.

An Alps Tour player, he received €17,500 of the €270,000 in funding handed out to 12 budding Irish tour players by the Sport Ireland-funded Golf Ireland Professional Scheme last year.

But he was turned down on appeal for a grant this year after failing to meet the strict criteria, which required him to finish in the top 10 on last year’s Alps Tour Order of Merit.

"I was quite surprised by that,” said Carey, who got a congratulatory text from Pádraig Harrington offering him a practice round at TPC San Antonio this week.

“That was unexpected, so I will have to sit down and look at my budgets and planning for the rest of the year. I hope they'll change their mind.

“They turned me down because I didn't finish top 10 on the Alps Tour, which I didn't play after The Open because I got DP World Tour and Challenge Tour starts.”

As for the possibility of earning some PGA Tour status or that dream spot in the Masters, he said: "I've shot eight under and seven under in my last two rounds, so if I can keep some of that form going, then it should be a good week.

"I just have to keep producing good golf. What I can get out of it, I'll figure it out on Sunday evening.”