Sport Golf

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Moriarty faces pivotal week after close-up view of Tour in McIlroy's world

Karl MacGinty

RORY McILROY and Colm Moriarty were separated by just one shot after 72 holes at the Egyptian Open, but they travelled back from Cairo to vastly different worlds.

McIlroy returned from the land of the Pharaohs having ironed out a kink in his swing and looking ahead to a week's work in his native Down with coach Michael Bannon before seeking further fame and fortune at next week's $7m HSBC-World Championship in Shanghai.

Moriarty, meanwhile, heads to the Challenge Tour's Apulia San Domenico Grand Final knowing that he needs to win to guarantee one of the European Tour cards on offer to the top 20 in the second circuit's final Order of Merit.

Athlone man Moriarty had been on the cusp of qualifying for the 45-man field in Apulia when he arrived in Egypt and, to his credit, he copper-fastened his place in the Grand Final with a stylish final-round 69, good enough for a share of 14th place on five-under.


More importantly, the €2,951 Moriarty earned lifted him to 42nd in the Challenge Tour rankings and with €29,308 won in 16 outings this year, he lies €25,809 away from 20th place in the table.

With €51,500 going to the winner in Puglia next Sunday and €34,200 for second place, a top-two finish would should be good enough for Moriarty to make his European Tour breakthrough - but victory would put it beyond doubt.

Remarkably, world No 9 McIlroy reputedly received an appearance fee of around €200,000 just to play in Egypt and promote an event which itself has ambitions of making it onto the main European Tour in the next few years.

This sum dwarfs the €3,308 McIlroy won in a tie for 12th place on six-under after Saturday's closing 68, his best round of the week. He was seven behind Chilean Mark Tullo (32), who clinched his second Challenge Tour victory of 2010 with a final-round 66.

Irish Independent

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