Crowe has eye on West of Ireland prize

Dunmurry's Darren Crowe is determined to break his title hoodoo in the Radisson SAS West of Ireland championship at Rosses Point.

Dunmurry's Darren Crowe is determined to break his title hoodoo in the Radisson SAS West of Ireland championship at Rosses Point.

The Irish international, 25, has permanently shelved plans to turn professional and set his sights on winning his first championship at newly-lengthened Co Sligo.

Beaten in the final of the South of Ireland championship and runner-up in the Irish Amateur Open at Carton House last year, Crowe is fancied to challenge title favourite Rory McIlroy over the Easter weekend.

But he knows it won't be easy at a course stretched by more than 110 yards and against a field that include the cream of the Irish amateur scene.

Crowe said: “I’ve been so close to winning titles over the past few seasons and just haven’t managed to get over the line.

“So it would be really special to do it in the West this week. I was in the final of the ‘South’ last year and second in the Irish Amateur Open as well so I am not too far away.

"I thought about turning professional last year but I've started work in my father's construction business now so I'll be staying amateur."

Teenage champion McIlroy, 16, is bidding to become the first player since Portmarnock's Niall Goulding in 1991 to successfully defend the title.

But the Holywood hotshot faces a top class field that includes West Waterford’s Seamus Power, Connor Doran of Banbridge and the likes of former champions Ken Kearney, Greg Bowden and Stuart Paul.

The championship kicks off with two rounds of strokeplay qualifying with the top 64 making the first round of matchplay combat on Sunday morning.

McIlroy has opted to concentrate fully on the amateur scene this year and revealed that he will be turning down invites to professional events this summer.

And he can’t wait to get his domestic campaign underway at Rosses Point, where he became the youngest ever West of Ireland champion last term.

McIlroy said: “I’m really looking forward to Rosses Point because I like the golf course and the crowds down there are very good.

“It really is a matchplay course and there are a lot of really tough par fours and a tough finish. So if you are two up with four or five to play you still need to play well to win.”

RADISSON SAS WEST OF IRELAND AMATEUR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP- Co Sligo GC, Rosses Point - Strokeplay qualifying, Friday (Saturday)

TEE-TIMES

7.0 (10.45) T McGowan (Strandhill) C O'Connor (Athlone/UCD) P Buckley (Kanturk).

7.09 (10.54) N O'Connor (Elm Park/UCD) G Managh (Knock) T O'Neill (Rathsallagh).

7.18 (11.12) R J Cannon (L'town & B'town) D Lally (Tuam) R Duggan (Kilkenny).

7.27 (11.21) S Heavey (Co Sligo) A Harty (W Waterford) D Coyne (Tuam).

7.36 (11.30) E McAnoy (Knock) T Cleary (E Clare) S Dwyer (Newlands).

7.45 (11.39) A. Morris (Belvoir Pk) J P Hughes (Douglas) R McCarthy (The Island).

7.54 (11.48) S Power (W Waterford) D Leathem (Lisburn) B McSweeney (Woodbrook).

8.03 (11.57) K Fahey (Connemara) S O'Flaherty (Hermitage) S McConnell (Ballyclare).

8.12 (12.06) G Mellerick (Fota Island) K O'Neill (Strandhill) J Turner (R Portrush).

8.21 (12.15) Ml Lavelle (Belmullet) S Grant (Birr) J Kavanagh! (Castletroy).

8.30 (12.24) H Bock (Ballybunion) A Condren (Greystones) S Doherty (Ballyliffin).

8.39 (12.33) K Canty (Douglas) L Cunningham (Moate) W Kelly (Killeen).

8.48 (12.51) D Moran (The Island) A Wynne (Strandhill) M Ryan (Grange).

8.57 (1.0) E Arthurs (Forr Little) M Sinclair (Knock) K Kennedy (Tipperary).

9.15 (1.09) R Leonard (Banbridge) S Lowry (Esker Hills) A McCormick (Scrabo).

9.24 (1.08) D Kelleher (Portmarnock) M Shanahan (W Waterford) D Carroll (Grange).

9.33 (1.07) G Hall (Edenderry) D McInerney (Lahinch) M Malone (Belvoir Park).

9.42 (1.06) C Doran (Banbridge) M Collins (Sutton) M Buggy (Castlecomer).

9.51 (1.45) D Horsey (Stual) D Crowe (Dunmurry) D Finn (Mallow).

10.0 (1.54) R McIlroy (Holywood) K McCarthy (Kinsale) K Kearney (Roscommon).

10.09 (2.03) B McCarroll (Ballyliffin) S Loftus (Ennis) R Boal (Scrabo).

10.18 (2.12) D Downie (Sutton) D McNeil (B'fey & S'olar) M MeEniff (St Anne's).

10.27 (2.21) F Flynn (L'town & B'town) E Saxel (Petersfield) D Boyle (Cruit Island).

10.36 (2.30) A Menton (Wisley) D Hunt (Nenagh) N Grant (Knock).

10.45 (7.0) M Rowe (Athlone) C Curley (Newlands) G Mallon (N West).

10.54 (7.09) A McCauley (Ardee) J McDermott (Stackstown) D Conway (Mallow) R Williams

(Baltinglass).

11.12 (7.18) T Reid (Fulwell) D Dunne (Co Sligo) J Neary (Galway).

11.21 (7.27) P Sheehan (Ballybunion) T Spence (Clandeboye) S Ward (Co. Louth).

11.30 (7.36) M Horan (Birr) J D McGinn (L'town & B'town) K Bornemann (Douglas).

11.39 (7.45) M Campbell (Stackstown) E Haugh (Castletroy) E McCormack (Galway).

11.48 (7.54) A Glynn (Porter's Pk) R Williams (Woodlands) D Coyle (Co Louth).

11.57 (8.03) R Evans (Moyola Pk) P Murray (Limerick) E Kennedy (Strabane).

12.06 (8.12) N Kearney (R Dublin) S Paul (Tandragee) S Carter (Mountrath).

12.15 (8.21) S Crowe (Dunmurry) W McCulley (Donaghadee) P McGrath (Dromoland).

12.24 (8.30) D Houlihan (K Club) D Morgan (Mullingar) S Moloney (Castletroy).

12.33 (8.39) G Bowden (Hermitage) H Diamond (Holywood) J Fox (Portmarnock).

12.51 (8.48) J Lyons (Galway) B Reddan (Co Louth) E Hayes (Charleville).

1.0 (8.57) A McKinley (Shandon Pk) K Lovelock (Hindhead) J Harding (C of Derry).

1.09 (9.15) M Poucher (Castle) J Moore (L'town & B'town) S Keenan (Galway).

1.18 (9.24) C Martin (Nenagh) P Errity (Delgany) P O'Hanlon (Curragh).

1.27 (9.33) G McDermott (Co. Sligo) S Shaw (Lisburn) K Condren (Greystones).

1.36 (9.42) P Sheehy (Limerick) B Walton (The Island/UCD) J Somers (L'town & B'town).

1.45 (9.51) M Brett (Portmarnock) C Hughes (R Portrush) D Keating (Dun Laoghaire).

1.54 (10.0) A Dowling (Hermitage) S J Miskelly (Knock) D O'Brien (L'town & B'town).

2.03 (10.09) B Cashman (Belvoir Pk) G Carew (Edenderry) P Connolly (Clontarf).

2.12 (10.18) N Cullen (Beaverstown) R Maher (Nenagh) C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).

2.21 (10.27) D Scully (Galway) F Rafferty (Dungannon) D O'Donovan (Muskerry).

2.30 (10.36) E O'Sullivan (The Island) B O'Connor (Hermitage) K Stack (Dungarvan/UCC).

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