16 Oct 17
It’s been quite a year for Adam Keogh who after winning the PGA Midlands Order of Merit, is now gearing up for his first appearance in the PGA Play-Offs.
The 29-year-old ended Matt Cort’s four-year reign as the player to beat in the Midlands by topping the region’s OOM in only his first full year as a PGA Head Professional.
His reward is a place at the eagerly anticipated PGA Play-Offs, which runs from October 30 to November 1.
Now Keogh is hoping to cap off a hugely successful 2017 campaign by springing another surprise at Walton Heath.
“The PGA Play-Offs is seen as the flagship of the regional events and culminating in the national final so I’m looking forward to it,” said Keogh, who took up golf when he was 12 two years after receiving major back surgery.
“Wherever I go and whenever I play, I always want to be winning regardless of the level.”
That winning mentality will be needed as Keogh comes up against a strong 24-player field over three days of competition.
There are a few added incentives for Keogh with four places at the BMW PGA Championships up for grabs, while there are also two spots available for the British Masters.
“I’m not going to worry about that too much. My friends would often text me saying ‘you could do this, you could end up playing here’, but it will be what it will be.
“We’ll assess that once it’s finished. We know it’s there but it will be what it will be and we’ll go from there, but I’m taking it each round as it comes.”
Keogh is no stranger to Walton Heath having played the 1981 Ryder Cup venue three times.
He will be up against a number of high profile PGA Professionals, including no fewer than eight players who have represented GB & Ireland in the PGA Cup.
But that doesn’t faze the relaxed right-hander.
“It’s untested and I have no idea how I’ll play alongside some of the top players on the PGA tour.
“An old friend of mine used to have a saying: ‘you shoot a good score and it’s got to be beaten, no matter who’s in the field.
“That’s the mentality I try to have where if you shoot a good score, not matter who’s playing, someone has to beat it so that’s all I’ll try and do. Just focus on what I need to do.”
Keogh’s rapid rise on the course was matched by his performance off it too.
He was twice named Assistant of the Year for the Midlands region before taking over as Head Professional at Spalding from Chris Huggins, who left to join Yeovil Golf Club earlier this year.
“I moved to Spalding Golf Club when I was 22. The three years I was doing my training was hard and it was tough. It was tough to manage the working aspect, the studying, the playing and the teaching, it’s really hard to knuckle down.
“But it’s worth the sacrifice over the three years. Quickly after I qualified in May my boss left to go to another job elsewhere. The job was then offered to me so things evolved quite quickly really.
“Once I qualified my plan from there was to spend the next two years just trying to play a little bit, doing a little less of the work side of things and doing more tuition and playing, but that got diverted quite quickly once my boss left.”
A seventh-place finish in the first Midlands Order of Merit event at Birstall was followed up by two runner-up spots in the subsequent events at Kedleston and Wellingborough.
Keogh finished fifth in the fourth and final Order of Merit competition at Shifnal to be crowned Midland champion and expectations had certainly been exceeded.
“My initial target because I hadn’t played any of the four courses was to play all four Order of Merit events and finish in the top 20 to give me an exemption to play the following year as and when I wished and to open a few more doors.
“My upbringing in golf has always been in tournament play. I played for the county when I was younger and I played for a few of the national teams, so I’ve got a background in playing.
“This summer has been crazy. It’s been one that I really wouldn’t want to have to try and manage again. It’s been tough trying to manage everything, but one that’s been good.”
As for the future, Keogh will continue with his roles and responsibilities at Spalding, but is determined to play as much as he can, added: “As a golfer you have lifespan I guess in terms of playing at the top level, so I plan to play as much as I possibly can whilst I still can.
“That’s my intention. Obviously I have a job as well so I have to manage both of those, but I think we can make that work.”
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