We are currently performing routine maintenance, some functionality may be temporarily unavailable.
PHOTO: Alan Fahy - image by Cashman Photography.
· Six hopefuls in the running for Bridgestone Order of Merit title
· 54-holes at Sandy Hills, Rosapenna to decide new Irish champion
· Top-3 on Order of Merit will be autoamtically selected to Golf Ireland's first men's High Performance Panel
Six players enter Friday's opening round at Sandy Hills in Rosapenna with a shot at Bridgestone glory, headed by long-time race leader, Alan Fahy who is in pole position after a string of stellar performances this term.
The Dun Laoghaire star holds a significant 60 point advantage over Galway's Liam Nolan in second place but with 130 points awarded to this week's champion, much can change before the AIG Irish Close Champion is decided and the Bridgestone Order of Merit is claimed come Sunday afternoon.Kilkenny's Mark Power trails by 62 points in third but the Wake Forest talent is an absentee for the Close this year.
Carton House pair Marc Boucher and Keith Egan will hope to get their hands on a national title from fourth and tied-fifth on the Bridgestone rankings respectively.
Thurles' Aaron Ryan will look to go one place better than the tied-second result he enjoyed at the Munster Stroke Play while Newlands' Jake Whelan, who showed winning form of his own when skating to a resounding five-shot success at the Dundalk Scratch Cup last month, as the last man in the running to claim this year's Bridgestone Order of Merit crown.
Incentive is everywhere at the final stop on this year's calendar with the top three players on the Order of Merit standings after Sunday's final round automatically included in the first Golf Ireland High Performance Panel for 2021.
There's no shortage of inspiration for the entire field either with the roll call of past champions at the Close a who's who of Irish golf; names like McDowell, McIlroy and Lowry, all going on to enjoy Major glory on the sport's grandest stage.
The Sandy Hills layout will provide a stern test befitting one of Ireland's most prestigious championships. Measuring a hefty 7,255 yards from the tips, the celebrated modern links is sure to produce a winner worthy of etching their name alongside some of Ireland's fairway greats.
The only unfortunate thing is that due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions, no spectators will be permitted to watch the drama unfold.
TEE TIMES: https://www.golfnet.ie/guilive#/competition/2023234/teetimes
Current Bridgestone OoM standings: https://www.golfnet.ie/guilive#/orderofmerit/127141