Just missed out on becoming the youngest player to win the Harry Vardon Trophy since Seve Ballesteros in 1976 when he finished second behind Lee Westwood in the inaugural Race to Dubai, having led going into the final event of the 2009 season.
His consolation was to become only the second 20 year old to break into the world’s top ten, after Sergio Garcia. From the moment he recorded a 40 yard drive at the age of two, it was clear that Northern Ireland had unearthed another rare golfing gem. A glittering amateur career made way for a spectacular start to his life as a professional, culminating in him becoming the youngest player in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2008 and then his European Tour breakthrough with a wire-to-wire victory in the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic. By winning in Dubai at the age of 19 and 273 days he became the sixth youngest winner in European Tour history, and youngest since Sergio Garcia triumphed a decade earlier in the Linde German Masters aged 19 and 267 days.
Joined the paid ranks in 2007 after rising to the world’s number one amateur. Played his first professional event as a 16 year old in 2005 and in the same year became the youngest winner of the prestigious West of Ireland and Irish Close Championships before representing Europe in the Junior Ryder Cup. He also shot a course record 61 at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2005. In 2007 he reached the top of the World Amateur Rankings and caught the public eye with his superb opening three under par 68 in The Open Championship at Carnoustie, the only bogey-free round of the day. Made the cut in his first professional event and finished third in his second professional event, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, earning enough money to assure his place in the top 115 to become the youngest and quickest Affiliate Member to secure his card, in just two events.
IN THE BAG:
DRIVER: Titleist 910D2 8.5°, Rombax 7V05 X-stiff (tipped 1.5″)
FAIRWAY: Titleist 906F2
IRONS: Titleist AP2 and Titleist MB
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled C-C
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Prototype
BALL: Titleist ProV1X