MALLOW golfer James Sugrue made the expected move to the professional ranks over the weekend with an announcement that he had signed with the professional golf agency Sportyard.
The Mallow man was ranked as the top amateur in Europe and he was ranked as fifth in the international WAGR ranking.
He now joins Alvaro Quiros and Irish Open winner Mikko Ilonan at the Swedish agency and his links with the management team should help in getting a number of starts on the Challenge Tour and European Tour this season.
Sugrue leaves behind an impressive amateur legacy. He was capped for Ireland at Boys and Men's level and play in the Walker Cup in Royal Liverpool in 2019.
As an individual he had several notable wins including the South of Ireland in 2017 and the Amateur Championship in 2019. Along with Jimmy Bruen, Eoghan O’Connell and John McHenry, Sugrue claims his place as one of Cork’s top amateurs.
His move is just in time for the 2020 Team Ireland golf bursaries, the Sport Ireland scheme provides funding for golfers starting out on their professional careers. In addition to the funding grant, Team Ireland can also secure Challenge Tour starts and this will be crucial for Sugrue.
It was likely that without the disruption of Covid that Sugrue would have turned professional last year, but a November trip to the Masters was a key reason for the delay.
Covid is still a disruption, while the European Tour schedule kicked off in Abu Dhabi last week, the Challenge Tour won’t start until late April.
Sugrue will look to the feeder tours to get in some needed tournament practice.
As an elite golfer, the Mallow man is permitted to train under current restrictions and has been hitting balls in Mallow Driving Range every morning under the watchful eye of his coach Michael Collins.