Lahinch eager for start of 117th ‘South’

For all the excitement generated by last month’s announcement that the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is to be played at Lahinch Golf Club next summer, there is plenty to whet the appetite in 2018 as the famous links plays host to the 117th South of Ireland Amateur Open Championship.

The Golfing Union of Ireland’s oldest amateur “major” makes its annual visit to the prestigious Clare links next month as 150 leading amateurs tee it up for a 36-hole qualifier, with the leading 64 progressing to battle it out in matchplay and for the honour of joining an impressive list of past champions, as well as defending titleholder James Sugrue of Mallow.

With entries set to close at midnight on Wednesday, June 27, the race is on to complete the elite field, which last year saw 10 of the successful Irish Home Internationals team participate.

The Home Internationals are bound for Lahinch next year, in September 2019, in addition to the 2019 Irish Open and the Arnold Palmer Cup in July 2020, while this year’s South was launched ahead of the first strokeplay round on Wednesday, July 25.

The qualifier is completed the following day with the top 64 moving forward for the matchplay part of the Championship, starting on the Friday before concluding with the semi-finals and final on Sunday, July 29.

Lahinch Golf Club captain Kevin O’Keeffe is eagerly anticipating the 2018 South of Ireland and said: “It continues to be one of the most popular championships among our leading amateurs. Last year, 10 of the victorious Irish Men’s team played in the South of Ireland.

Lahinch Golf Club is appreciative of the support of the Golfing Union of Ireland in ensuring that our leading golfers have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as John Burke, JB Carr, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, and Graeme McDowell.

He continued: “Played mid-summer at peak holiday time in Lahinch, The South is generally regarded as the most enjoyable of the amateur ‘majors’ with large crowds guaranteed while golf is the talk of the village throughout the week.

“Lahinch and the surrounding area is gearing up for another memorable five days of golf and all visitors are welcome to come along and join in the festivities.”

O’Keeffe also welcomed the renewed support of the Championship from sponsors Pierse Motors Volkswagen.

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