Lowry to defend Close title

Defending champion Shane Lowry (Esker Hills) will contest the Golfsure-sponsored Irish Amateur Close Championship at Belvoir Park Golf Club from June 7-11.

Lowry, who captured the West of Ireland Championship at Co Sligo Golf Club in March, will face a tough battle in defence of his title, with Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye) one of his main rivals, holding the lowest handicap of all entrants at +4.3.

Connor Doran (Banbridge), who finished as best-placed Irishman at the Irish Amateur Open this month, is also included in the field.

The handicap cut for this year's Championship fell at 1.0, and no less than 120 players in the field of 150 have handicaps of scratch and better.

This will be the first occasion for the Irish Amateur Close Championship to be staged at Belvoir Park Golf Club.

The Championship was first held in 1893 at Royal Portrush and has been played each year since, with the exception of the war years. Former winners of the Championship also include Rory McIlroy (2006 and 2005), Brian McElhinney (2004), Graeme McDowell (2000), Peter Lawrie (1996), Padraig Harrington (1995), Darren Clarke (1990) and Paul McGinley (1989).

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