He might have been disappointed going to bed on Friday night, but James Sugrue woke up to the good news that he had secured an invitation to next week’s Irish Open. After a well-placed comment from Lee Westwood, the European Tour extended an invitation to the 2019 Amateur Champion. Sugrue was in action in New York at the US Open, and disappointingly missed the cut after failing to battle back in the second round. Short of tournament golf, Sugrue is keen to maximise all opportunities for top level golf. His season will run until November when he’s due to play in the Masters at Augusta.
It was after his opening round on Thursday that the issue of the Irish Open came up. Playing partner Lee Westwood expressed surprise that Sugrue was not heading to Galgorm Castle near Ballymena for the rescheduled event. “He’s obviously got a very bright future. Really surprised that nobody’s given him an invite for the Irish Open next week. He’s the British amateur champion from Ireland, and he’s not got an invite to the Irish Open. Little bit shocked at that. Maybe should be a late one in there.”
Sugrue wasn’t considered for the event last year as it clashed with the European Team Championships, instead taking up an invite to the pro-am. “Last year it was at Lahinch, which would be pretty close to my house and one of my favourite courses” explained Sugrue on Friday. “I couldn’t play because, A, I think it was a Rolex event last year, and also because we had European Team championships, so I couldn’t play. So, yeah, I would love to — it would be great to get a start in the Irish Open. That would be brilliant. I would definitely take up on that offer if it was possible.”
The wish came to be and it was a good boost for Sugrue as he closed out his second major championship. The Mallow man had a tough few days at the US Open at Winged Foot. He opened on Thursday with an eight over par 78 which saw a few shots outside the projected cut. He started his second round early on Friday morning and almost immediately he was on the back foot after an opening 7. Sugrue fell foul of the infamous rough in Winged Foot and while he carded three birdies in his second round he was well outside the cut mark. Sugrue along with caddie Conor Dowling and coach Michael Collins will return on Monday and the likelihood is that Sugrue will head straight for Northern Ireland to maintain the momentum from his US Open debut.