THE draw has been made for the opening two strokeplay rounds at the 115th South of Ireland Championship which will be held at Lahinch Golf Club from July 20 to 24.
The prestigious even begins on the famed Co Clare links on Wednesday next, July 20, with the final taking place on Sunday, July 24.
The Championship format is similar to last year with the leading 64 competitors from the 36-hole stroke play qualifier, played over the first two days, qualifying for match play over the weekend.
A host of Limerick-based players have won the ‘South’ during its decorated history. Limerick Golf Club’s Pat Murray is set most recent local winner of the event in 2012, while Cian McNamara claimed the title in 2004.
Some 150 players will take part in the strokeplay qualifying phase of the competition on Wednesday and Thursday next.
2012 winner Murray starts his bid to regain the title at 1.50pm on Wednesday, July 20 in the company of Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) and Gary Collins (Rosslare)
Limerick Golf Club’s Justin Kehoe begins the first of his two rounds at 9.40am on Wednesday alongside Jamie Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) and Ian Spillane (Mallow).
Two Limerick-based players Dean McMahon, of Castletroy GC, and Limerick’s Michael Reddan play in the same group for the strokeplay stages, due off at 10.50pm on Wednesday.
Adare Manor’s Aaron Moore is due to tee off at 2.50pm on Wednesday, while Limerick’s Michael O’Kelly is out 10 minutes later in the following threeball.
This year’s Championship is sponsored by Pierse Motors Volkswagen, based in Tipperary town.
Gerry Pierse, Captain Lahinch Golf Club, said: “The South of Ireland is the last major opportunity for our leading amateur golfers to impress selectors before the Home Internationals which will be held at The Nairn Golf Club, Scotland mid-August. Last year, six of the victorious Irish Men’s team played in the South of Ireland.”
Previous winners of the South of Ireland also include legendary names such as John Burke, JB Carr, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell.