Lee Valley scratch cup steps up in status

The Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup will step into a new era this season as the 2016 renewal will see the prestigious 54-hole tournament sponsored by EMC and carrying world amateur ranking points.

The family-owned Co Cork course designed by the late Christy O’Connor Jnr is a relative newcomer to the scene, having been created in 1992 but the event has long been an established fixture among elite amateur golfers in Munster and beyond.

Switching from an 18-hole event to 54 holes in 2009, Lee Valley’s first winner in the extended format was Shane Lowry, who three weeks later won the Irish Open at Baltray, and the tournament has gone from strength to strength, and now attracting a prestigious sponsor in global technology company EMC.

The introduction of world ranking (WAGR) points for the first time, having served a 12-month probationary period to meet R&A criteria, is a further boost, helping to attract the best young amateurs, and when Muskerry’s Dave O’Donovan defends his title on April 16-17, he will have to see off a strong field including Irish internationals Colm Campbell from Warrenpoint, Naas’s Conor O’Rourke and Massareene’s Tiernan McLarnan.

“The field is two thirds full with two weeks to go, way ahead of the norm at this time of the year,” club captain Patsy Ryan said. He also praised EMC for being receptive to the idea of sponsoring the event, with the company’s vice president of global logistics Bill O’Connell, himself a Lee Valley member.

Club’s director of golf David Keohane, whose father Gerry was one of four developers of the course and bought the club for his family in 1999, paid tribute to the officers and organising committee for keeping the Senior Scratch Cup a high-calibre event.

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