Last year’s Irish Amateur Close/Open double winner Peter O’Keeffe believes the North of Ireland Championship has the potential to become one of the leading events on golf’s amateur calendar.
The North turns to 72-holes of stroke play when it revisits Royal Portrush from July 13-15 and the Douglas man has no doubt that the format switch, coupled with the calibre of the venue, should have no problem attracting the best amateurs in golf.
“If Ireland had a Lytham Trophy equivalent where we were going to get the best field every year, it would really stand to us, and hopefully Portrush and the North does achieve that,” O’Keeffe says.
“It’s a tough one, scheduling is so difficult and in an ideal world nothing would clash and we would get the best fields for every event but for me, the start is removing the match play; 64 is too much.
“I thought Sligo (the West) had a good balance because if you get to the final you are there five days anyway. 64 into match play is a lot and I don’t think it is necessary to bring out the best player.
“We are currently in a match play overload that needs to be trimmed a little bit.”
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