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LATEST: East of Ireland at Co Louth

​​​​​Former champion Colm Campbell rediscovers winning touch in time for East of Ireland at Co Louth (1-3 June)​

  • 30 May 2019

Picture: Ulster Stroke Play Champion Colm Campbell | Golffile


Revitalised after winning the Ulster Stroke Play Championship, Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell has his eyes on the East of Ireland this weekend as he heads to Co Louth for round five of the Bridgestone Order of Merit.

Campbell boosted his chances of a return to the Ireland team with a timely victory last Tuesday. His Ulster Stroke Play success at Galgorm Castle moved him up to sixth place on the Bridgestone Order of Merit. The 32 year old finished two shots clear of Marc Boucher (Carton House), capturing his first title since winning the Irish Amateur Open in 2016.
 
A top 10 finish at the East of Ireland - where Campbell won his first major championship in 2014 - may be good enough to push him inside the top three in the Bridgestone race. If he carries his momentum into the weekend at Baltray and prevails again on the storied links, Campbell can go top of the Bridgestone table.
 
And, if Campbell is inside the top three on the Bridgestone Order of Merit at the end of the season, he will add to his 31 international caps at this year's Home Internationals. 
 
"I'm so passionate about playing for Ireland and any time you get a chance to represent your country, it's an absolute honour," said Campbell following his latest triumph. "I'll be doing whatever I can to play in Lahinch."
 
The Home Internationals take place at the Co Clare links from 11-13 September with the top three players on the Bridgestone Order of Merit guaranteed selection.
 
A return to the international fold, two years after his last appearance, is now a real possibility for Campbell although, getting this far, has taken its toll. He spent last season on the sidelines, blighted by injury.
 
"It's been tough," he reflected. "I struggled with the injuries, as most people know. I lost my grandad as well on top of that, who was a big supporter of me and this one [Ulster Stroke Play] is for him."
 
The d Hotel sponsored East of Ireland, which begins on Saturday, marks the halfway point of the domestic season, the fifth of 10 events in the Bridgestone Order of Merit. Galway's Ronan Mullarney, currently second in the table, and Robert Brazill from Naas, lying fourth, have most to gain at the East in the absence of Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) and Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), who are contesting the Brabazon Trophy in Alywoodley GC, Leeds.
 
Marc Boucher, who was second to Campbell at the Ulster Stroke Play, has moved into the top 10 on the Bridgestone table for the first time this season. Boucher was capped by Ireland at Boys level in 2015 and is a student at UNC Charlotte. A finish of seventh or better at the East could move him inside the top three on the Bridgestone Order of Merit.
 
BRIDGESTONE ORDER OF MERIT - TOP 10
1 C Purcell (Portmarnock) 430
2 R Mullarney (Galway) 265
3 C Rafferty (Dundalk) 250
4 R Brazill (Naas) 210
5 K Egan (Carton House) 196
6 C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 191
7 J Lyons (Galway) 180
8 T McLarnon (Massereene) 179
9 M Boucher (Carton House) 178
10 R Moran (Castle) 155