Alan Foley

Paul McGinley’s biggest cheque in four years means the man with the Donegal background tees off at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush this morning with both form and confidence.

Paul McGinley’s biggest cheque in four years means the man with the Donegal background tees off at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush this morning with both form and confidence.

McGinley, whose father Mick is from Dunfanaghy, has found his mojo once again after posting three top-10 finishes in his last four tournaments - the latest being the fine conclusion at the BMW International in Cologne last weekend.

The 45-year-old finished off with a best of the day 66 in terrible weather on his way to a third placed finish and a cheque of €103,333. He was left to rue his Saturday 77 after being joint-second at halfway after two competent opening rounds.

“Obviously there’s a gaping thing in the week and I’ve got to give some thought to why I lost my speed on the greens and my confidence,” said the Dubliner. “I had five three-putts - I don’t think I’ve ever had that in my life, but it was a good reaction.”

With €286,916 banked in eight events in 2012, McGinley is still seeking to confirm his place at next month’s Open at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s. On Monday, raving returned to the UK from Germany, McGinley and compatriots Shane Lowrie and Paul Laurie failed to secure any of the 10 places on offer at the Open in a 36-hole qualifying competition in Sunningdale.

Victory, however, at Royal Portrush would see McGinley through on the seven-tournament ‘Open Mini-Order of Merit,’ which concludes on Sunday. In fact, third place in the Irish Open probably would be good enough. Failing that, a top-five finish at the French or Scottish Opens could be just the ticket for the Irish trio.

“I’m really looking forward to this week’s Irish Open,” McGinley said. “Royal Portrush is one of my favourite courses in the world and I’ve played it a lot over the years.

“I’m looking forward a lot to the Irish Open. The Dunluce is one of my favourite courses in all the world. Hopefully it’s going to be breezy in Portrush too. There’s a good chance that it will. It’s great to go to Portrush in good form.”