Dundalk Golf Club's Caolan Rafferty will tee off tomorrow morning at 10:20AM
The 2021 Flogas Irish Men's Amateur Open Championship returns this weekend, after a one-year absence, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
93 players from 11 countries will compete at The European Club in Wicklow, looking to win the prestigious title, which was first played for in 1892.
Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty is amongst the stacked field and will look to build on his recent success alongside the Irish side which took the top honours in the R&A Home Internationals in England.
The Dundalk Golf Club player contributed 2.5 points out of a possible five in the matches against Scotland, Wales and England as Ireland beat Scotland and Wales and then drew with England to pip the Scots for the title by half-a-point.
He will be looking to add more major Irish silverware to the cabinet having already brought the prestigious West of Ireland and South of Ireland titles back to Louth and is due to play alongside Balbriggan's Robert Cannon and English raider Josh Berry from Doncaster. The group is scheduled to get underway tomorrow morning at 10:20AM.
Ireland international Robert Moran was joined by American duo Trevor Randolph and Darin Goldstein at the Golf Ireland Academy, to launch the event ahead of the competition this weekend. The trio also competed in the Carey Cup earlier this week at Carton House.
Golf Ireland CEO Mark Kennelly and John Rooney, managing director of Flogas Ireland, joined the players to celebrate the return of the competition that Flogas has sponsored since 2016.
John Rooney said, “It’s terrific to welcome back the Flogas Men’s Amateur Open, undoubtedly one of the most historic and prestigious events in the amateur golf calendar. It’s shaping up to be a very memorable competition this year, and Flogas is very proud to be associated with it.”
“The European Club is a very hard golf course”, Moran said at the launch. “It’ll be about staying patient this weekend. It’s a mentally demanding course, and hopefully I’ll be in contention on Sunday.”
“It’s brilliant to have the Flogas Irish Open back. I’m playing with a German player in the opening two rounds. Having the foreign players is key to an event like this.”
Randolph and Goldstein both admitted the lure of playing links golf in Ireland was critical in their decision to play in Wicklow this weekend.
“To have international golf back is tremendous. It’s been something Darin and myself have been looking forward to all year”, Randolph said at the launch. “We both played four years ago in this event at Royal County Down. Irish courses are among the best in the world. Being able to experience the history of golf here, it’s an event we wouldn’t want to miss.”
“I want to play in big international events, and to play in a national Open like this is a big honour”, Goldstein added. “This is the first time I have played golf outside of America since 2019. All of the American players are here to win at The European Club.”
All 93 players will play on Friday and Saturday, with the top 50 and ties, playing in Sunday’s Final Round looking to be crowned the 2021 Flogas Irish Men's Amateur Open Champion.
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