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PHOTO: Rob Brazill (Naas).
The Bridgestone Order of Merit has expanded for 2019 and will incorporate the Mullingar Scratch Trophy for the first time.
A landmark event in the Irish amateur golf calendar, the Mullingar Scratch Trophy has a rich tradition stretching back to 1963 and has long been recognised as a staging post in the careers of Ireland's greatest players. Scheduled for 10-11 August, this year's tournament has added significance for Ireland's leading players as it becomes a counting event on the Bridgestone Order of Merit.
For the first time in 2019, the champion at Mullingar will pick up precious points in the race to land the Bridgestone title. The Mullingar Trophy is the final event in the Bridgestone series, giving players one last chance to secure their Ireland cap with the top three players on the Order of Merit gaining automatic selection for the Home Internationals. Ireland will host the Home Internationals in September (11-13) at Lahinch.
"Everybody wants to get in the top three spots for a Home Internationals place," explains GUI National Panellist Rob Brazill from Naas. "It's a serious incentive for everyone. I missed out on it last year and I was sickened that I did. This year I want to make sure that I'm in one of those leading places so I don't have to worry about getting picked."
The Mullingar Scratch Trophy is available to enter via the Union website www.golfnet.ie As part of its inclusion on the merit series, Leinster Golf will assist Mulllingar Golf Club in the administration of the event, with council members working alongside the championship committee.
In total, there are 10 events on this year's Bridgestone Order of Merit, an increase of two. The Ulster Stroke Play Championship, a new event in 2019, has also been added to the fixture schedule and will take place from 27-28 May at Galgorm Castle and Massereene.
With the inclusion of these two new events, the Union is also changing the criteria for exemptions for 2020. The top-30 players on the 2019 table will be exempt for all Bridgestone Order of Merit events in 2020, with further exemptions being limited to some of the events.
The full points lists for the Orders of Merit, and a detailed explanation of the changes which will apply from 2020 onwards, are available here: https://www.golfnet.ie/SiteAssets/Tournament-Conditions-Book.pdf
The Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit has also been boosted with the addition of the German Boys (U18) Championship to the schedule. The GUI will send an official squad to the German Boys, which takes place at Golf Club St Leon-Rot (30 May-1 June).