McDonnell succeeded in qualifying for Albert MacKenzie's squad by finishing fourth at the recent PGA Championships at Luttrellstown Castle in Dublin, where he equalled the course record with a round of 65 – seven under par – in the second round of the four day competition.
In 2015, McDonnell narrowly missed out on qualification for the biennial PGA Cup by half a point, so is understandably delighted to have made the cut this time. He said; “The target for the week was to finish in the top 6 so I would qualify for the PGA Cup. There was a chance of winning but once I knew this wasn't possible with a few holes to play, it was all about making sure I qualified. Winning the PGA Club Professionals Championships and qualifying for the PGA Cup are the highest achievements a PGA Professional can achieve. I've been lucky enough to do both now, so I'm unbelievably happy with myself!”
Luttrellstown Castle Golf Course was playing a monstrous 7347 yards for the PGA Championships, with different playing conditions each day. McDonnell started the tournament with a 1 over par 73, despite high winds making the course even more challenging.
In round two, McDonnell moved in second place overall with his superb record-equalling 65 putting him one shot behind leader Paul O'Hara. With a constant 30mph wind and persistent, heavy rain, round three proved to be extremely tough, but McDonnell limited the damage with a score of 77, putting him tied for the lead. The wind stayed for the final round, but without rain, McDonnell shot a one over par 73, which secured him a fourth place finish and a qualification for the PGA Cup.
Summing up his performance at the Championship, McDonnell said; “My whole game felt good all week. I actually played my best golf in the final two rounds, even though my score didn't suggest so. When conditions got tough it really did test your ability to control your ball flight and distance. If there was a slight flaw, it was my putting in the final round. But all in all it was a very consistent week under huge amounts of pressure.”
Stuart Gillett, General Manager for golf and leisure at Goodwood, said; “We would like to congratulate Chris on his superb achievement and we are extremely proud to have him as one of our full-time PGA professionals. This is an absolutely fantastic achievement given how hard he has been working at the Academy this year, leading and delivering our tuition offering. This is the pinnacle for Club Professionals and further cements our position within golf.”