Castlehaven born teenager Tommy O’Driscoll is on the verge of turning professional after he secured a full card on the Alps tour in France recently. It has been a case of steady progression for the 19 year old golfer with strong West Cork links. In his first visit to the Alps Tour Q school he finished inside the top 100. Last year he was 65th and two weeks ago he finished in 18th place to earn a full tour card on the high ranking satellite tour. He was one of only five amateurs to finish in the top twenty. The Alps Tour is a top quality tour for emerging professionals with the top finishers gaining cards on the European Challenge Tour. The tour has 20 events, it starts in Egypt and Tunisia and moves to southern Europe as the season progresses.
The teenager has been playing golf since he was eleven years old and by the time he reached 13 he was playing off a handicap of seven. Golf and sport run deep in the family, Tommy has four brothers who all play golf , Dylan , Eamonn, Oisin, and Sean aged 10 who is the best putter according to Thomas. Thomas himself played with Castlehaven in the seventies before playing with Dr Crokes after moving west to Killarney. Both Tommy’s parents Thomas and Evelyn come from West Cork. Tommy also played for Castlehaven as a young boy before golf became a passion, and at his current height of 6’3” he might have featured in this year’s county final if he stuck with football. He won the Munster U15 Order of Merit in 2011 and won the Munster Boys Order of Merit in 2014. Now playing off +2 he played in three Alps Tour events (as an amateur) last October and finished in 11th place in his second event. Currently a member of Killarney and Ring of Kerry, O’Driscoll splits his time between Ireland and France where his based at Clememt Ader just outside Paris.
Tommy’s success has been closely watched by his Dad Thomas who was there when he won his tour card at Q School in La Cala: “He felt confident all through, the goal was to finish in the top 35, all tour cards in the top 35 have the same status. Tommy didn’t take any risks in the final two rounds and finished in 18th place. The season can be fully planned now without having to depend on invitations. There’s no logical reason why he should stay amateur, he’ll probably turn pro in mid-January after the Andalucian Open in Spain which begins on the 9th of January.”
Tommy’s coach is Mallow based professional Mick Collins and he’s watched the teenager progress. “I started working with Tommy about two and a half years ago, and it is stating the obvious to say he is very talented” said Collins, “and he has improved all parts of his game over the last few years. The aim now is to continue to gradually and steadily improve all parts of his game year on year. If he can achieve this, there is no reason why he can’t continue to improve his levels of performance. With hard work and a good attitude he should be able to continue to challenge for tournaments on the Alps Tour as he has done already.” Tommy is aiming to continue his progression, the next step would be a move up to the Challenge Tour and then on to the European Tour.
Mick Collins also works out of the Clement Ader golf resort in Paris where Tommy is based so he’s in a good position to evaluate his progress over the past two years: “We put in a good winters work in late 2013 and the following season (2014) Tommy had a brilliant year of results with top 5 finishes in all the provincial boys events and a win in the Ulster boys. It was a difficult 2015 for him as he was out of the boys category and into adult events, but he had the same expectation regarding performance. He was very hard on himself early on. However through playing some senior events, he is starting to relax a bit more and has a bit more confidence which has shown in a good finish to the season and the tour school result.”