Matthew McClean admits it would be ‘brilliant’ to win his first Irish championship and add the East of Ireland to his US Mid-Amateur title this bank holiday weekend.
The Malone man is the highest ranked player in the field at 80th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and after coming second in last year’s Irish Amateur and North of Ireland Championships and third in the Irish Close he hopes to strike gold in Co. Louth Golf Club this weekend.
“It would be brilliant,” said McClean who is US Open bound later this month. “I’ve been close a few times and over the last couple of years I’ve been playing less and less which isn’t ideal but I would love to add any of them so this is as good a place to start as anywhere else.”
McClean is making his first appearance in the East of Ireland Men’s Amateur Open Championship since 2019 but he hopes to quickly reacquaint himself with the Baltray links.
“I haven’t been down here in a while, it’s four years since I played the East just down to one thing or another so I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing the course. It’s a fantastic golf course in great condition so it should be a great weekend.
“From memory you have to drive it well, the greens are relatively generous so if you can get yourself in play off the tee you can make birdies. If the weather is reasonably good, scoring can be good so just gotta get the driver straight.”
McClean is part of a high class field and while he has been solid if not spectacular this season a final round 66 in the Brabazon Trophy last weekend might be the kickstart he needs.
“It will be a good field this week, it doesn’t clash with the St Andrews Links and we only have a couple of guys playing in the Scottish Amateur so there’s plenty of quality, should be some good golf,” explained McClean who finished 7th in Sunningdale as Liam Nolan won the Brabazon.
“I’ve been struggling a bit over the last few weeks just with scoring but I feel as if I’m swinging it all right and that 66 in the Brabazon was a confidence boost so just need to be patient and wait to put the scores together.”
McClean tees off with defending champion Alex Maguire and Jordan Hood at 7.41am.