By Tony Webeck – Australian Golf Media
Reigning Australian Amateur champion Connor McKinney is eyeing off a quick transition to the professional ranks after topping First Stage of DP World Tour Qualifying School in Portugal.
McKinney and fellow West Australian Braden Becker both advanced to Second Stage but it was McKinney who turned heads, winning by five in a wire-to-wire triumph.
Champion at the St Andrews Links Trophy in June, the Joondalup amateur fired a nine-under 63 on day one at Montado Hotel and Golf Resort and was never headed, adding rounds of 67-64-69 to finish five clear and book his place at Second Stage in Spain from November 3.
Becker will also join McKinney and the seven Aussie qualifiers from Rosebud at Second Stage after finishing tied for ninth in Portugal.
Setting up his week with back-to-back rounds of five-under 67, Becker bounced back from an even-par 72 in Round 3 with a bogey-free four-under 68 on the final day to finish two-strokes inside the qualifying cut-off.
First Stage of DP World Tour Qualifying School continues this week with Simon Hawkes and amateur Hayden Hopewell in action in Sweden while Elvis Smylie and Victorian Lazim Medini will contest Q School in England and France respectively in the first week of October.