Organisers hopeful innovations will boost South of Ireland

Organisers of Ireland’s oldest championship are hoping changes to both format and scheduling will lead to a much improved field for the 114th South of Ireland next summer.

Organisers hopeful innovations will boost South of Ireland

There will be a new date for the South in 2015 at Lahinch as the GUI looks to make its annual fixtures calendar for its major championships less condensed, while next year’s tournament will have a strokeplay element before heading into a traditional matchplay phase.

The interprovincial championships will take place at the start of July while the 114th South of Ireland will tee off three days earlier than this year, beginning on Wednesday, July 22 with the final on Sunday, July 26.

The first two days of competition will see 36 holes of strokeplay, the top 64 golfers qualifying for the matchplay.

“Over recent years it has been very difficult to attract leading national and international amateur golfers to participate in the South due to a very gruelling schedule around that time,” Lahinch GC captain Ian Slattery said. “The GUI has been conscious of the impact of the congested calendar on the competitors and we have been delighted to work with them to ensure our leading golfers have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous winners of the South such as JB Carr, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell. With the Interpros moving back to the beginning of July and with the changes to the Championship format next year, we see a great opportunity to encourage our leading amateur golfers as well as visitors from overseas, to travel to Lahinch and play one of the world’s greatest links courses mid-summer.”

The rescheduling of other championships by the GUI for 2015 has seen the West of Ireland brought forward almost three weeks to the start of April and the Irish Close pushed back two months to August.

It also means that the 2015 South will be the last major opportunity for Ireland’s leading amateurs to stake a claim for Home Internationals selection three weeks later.

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