A place on the Challenge Tour is calling for Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy after he claimed his second PGA EuroPro Tour title at the CPG Classic supporting England & Wales Blind Golf.
The 28-year-old produced a superb five-under-par 66 in his final round to finish at 15 under for the week and secure a comfortable three-shot victory at Belton Woods Hotel to add to the Cubefunder Championship crown he won last year.
Not only that but McElroy has now soared to the top of the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit with £23,000, over £6,000 clear of second-placed Ryan Brooks and nearly £9,000 ahead of sixth-placed Jake Ayres, with the top-five at the end of the season earning promotion to the second tier.
Although there are still nine events to go, McElroy is confident he has already done enough to make it onto the Challenge Tour next season and is thrilled to be in this position after missing out by one place last year.
“It looks like that could be enough. Last year £23,000 was enough to get (promoted) and I’m on 23 now and I’ve still got the Tour Championship to come which is double the prize money, so that should be enough,” said McElroy, who has now won his last two starts after triumphing at the NI Open last week.
“A win this week has pretty much secured it, so I’m feeling really, really happy with this. To get it done after seven or eight events is fantastic. Just knowing I can plan my schedule a bit more and I’ll be a bit busier is amazing.”
Having started the day one shot behind Airdrie’s Greg Dalziel, the Scot fell away out of contention quickly, allowing McElroy to open up a comfortable two-shot lead at the turn with birdies at the first, sixth, seventh and ninth, which included putts from 30ft and 50ft.
England’s Paul Maddy threatened with an eagle at the 12th and a birdie at the 15th to close to within two shots, and McElroy managed to stay one ahead when he holed another 30-footer for bogey at the par-four 14th after taking a drop from a bush following an errant drive.
But Maddy bogeyed the 16th to finish alongside Ben Hutchinson at 12 under, leaving McElroy to birdie the 15th and then par his way in for a comfortable victory.
“It was mainly about making sure I didn’t make any silly mistakes down the stretch and, apart from the 14th, I played really steady golf and that was really pleasing,” he smiled.
“It feels pretty automatic at the moment. My game is there right now, I’m feeling really good about how I’m playing. My routine is good, my swing is good, my shots are good — I’m feeling extremely comfortable.
“It’s great to win. I’ve been in great form for the last month or so. It was fantastic to see that translate into a EuroPro win.”
McElroy now turns his attentions to the Challenge Tour over the next few weeks, heading to Germany and then back to The K Club for the Irish Challenge, and having finished 11th at the recent Open de Bretagne and with two wins under his belt since, there could be more to come.
“This year isn’t over yet! We’ve still got half the season left, so hopefully I can have a good finish as well and who knows, maybe I can do something on the Challenge Tour as well,” he grinned.