Following his return to the winner’s enclosure at the Ulster Stroke Play Championship on Tuesday, Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell has his eyes firmly fixed on the East of Ireland championship this weekend at County Louth.
Campbell gave his hopes of a return to the Ireland team a massive lift at Galgorm Castle where he finished two strokes clear of Carton House’s Marc Boucher. The 32-year old’s success saw him move into sixth place on the Bridgestone Order of Merit ahead of round five this week in Baltray – with he top-3 on the points list at the end of the season earning their place at this year’s Home Internationals.
Campbell’s victory was a first since capturing the Irish Amateur Open in 2016 but now 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-3 in the Bridgestone race. Better still, if Campbell carries that winning momentum to Count Louth, a victory could see him go top of the Bridgestone table.
“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 win in Ulster. “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 a return to the international fold, two years after his last appearance, now a real possibility for Campbell. It would be an incredible comeback given the injury struggles that plagued the Warrenpoint man’s 2018 season.
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