Cutler excited by new challenge

PAUL Cutler makes his first foray into the world of professional golf this morning at the Austrian Open.
The 22-year-old from Portstewart, who was instrumental in GB&I’s recent Walker Cup victory, has already shown he is capable of performing on the big stage with a 21st place finish at the Irish Open.

“I’m pretty excited to be here and probably a little bit nervous as well,” he said.

“There is a different buzz to the professional events and I can really feel that this week. You just have to look around to see what the standard is going to be like on Tour.
“There are no bad players in the field and you have Major Champions, Ryder Cup players and guys with loads of Tour victories so it is going to be tough.
“That is very different from what we are used to but I am looking forward to the challenge.
“I am just trying to look after myself and hopefully play well this week. The Walker Cup was a great experience for me and obviously playing well personally and the team winning made it a really great week for me. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then but I am ready to get going now.”
And he added; “I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can repay the people who are supporting me.
“I have received some great support from the Irish Sports Council, through the Team Ireland Golf Trust already and that is really going to help me make the best possible start to my career.”
The Team Ireland Golf Trust announced yesterday that Cutler had been awarded a grant of 12,000 euros.
“I fully appreciate that funding is harder and harder to come by in the current climates, and the extremely generous support from the Sports Council is exactly what I need to kick-start my career,” said Paul.
“I would like to thank everyone involved and hope that I can repay their gratitude and support with some good performances on the golf course.”
Danielle McVeigh, who made her professional debut at the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle in August has also been awarded 7000 euros.
Danielle will play in a number of events on LET Access Tour before the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in January.
“The grant is helping me in the transition from amateur to professional. Being able to play events over the winter will be invaluable preparation before tour school in January,” said Danielle.
“Without the help from Team Ireland I wouldn’t be able to compete in the run up to the school, this is a vital step in securing my card for 2012.”
Cutler gets his first round underway today at 8.20am in the company of Tom Lewis who also played in the Walker Cup team.
Padraig Harrington is also in the field and the three-time major champion is hoping a new swing will help him to a much-needed high finish.
The Irishman has managed only one top-10 placing this season and is currently languishing down in 87th place in the Race to Dubai, with only the top 60 qualifying for the season-ending Dubai World Championships.
“My game has been up and down all year as everyone knows but I have seen a lot of positives recently,” said Harrington, who has been working hard with new coach Pete Cowan.
“I recently changed coach and have been making a few changes to my swing, which people will see this week. The main change that I think people will notice is that the backswing will be wider and shorter.
“It is starting to feel good and I am really looking forward to getting out and competing here this week to gauge where my game is at and how I play in tournament conditions with the changes.”


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