Joe Lyons (Galway) says Seniors golf gave him ‘a new lease of life’ as he aims for his first win of the year at the Irish Senior Men’s Close Championship.
Strandhill welcomes 136 golfers who will contest across the Men’s and Women’s event this week with Lyons looking to build the momentum.
A recent top five finish at the European Senior Championships, after a play-off defeat at the Irish Senior Men’s Amateur Open, shows Lyons has been on form but he knows he is capable of more.
“I’m struggling a little with my game. Nothing seems to be going well. I’m struggling with the driver, the putter in particular, two of the most important clubs in the bag. Golf is a funny game, hopefully something will just click,” said Lyons.
“People might say they were good results but I was very disappointed coming away from both Hermitage and the European Seniors. I lost in the play-off at the Hermitage and European Seniors was the tournament that I targeted for the year.
“I had a terrible first round, my tournament was over. I had a couple of good scores in round two and three but I was out of the event at that stage. I climbed up, finished fifth, I was never really in the mix there.
“But there is enough form to suggest that it’s not that far away. I haven’t won anything at all this year so I’ll be looking to set that record straight but there will be plenty of good players up there.
“Eddie McCormack having won the European Seniors will be the favourite. Alan Condren is playing well, Jim Carvill, there will be lots of good players. Hopefully it goes well, the first thing is to make the cut and get into the matchplay and we will see how it goes after.”
In the women’s event, Deirdre Smith (Co Louth) will set out to defend her title at 9.10am alongside Carol Wickham (Laytown & Bettystown) and Deirdre Walsh (Milltown).
Alison Taylor (Malahide) will be one of the players to watch coming off the back of her incredible win at the European Senior Ladies’ Championship in Douglas last month.
There will be a 36-hole qualifier on the first two days before the top-16 qualifiers enter the matchplay. The next best 16 players in the Women’s championship will enter the Plate matchplay while the next best over-60 players in the Men’s will play in the Veteran’s Trophy.
Lyons will tee off at 9.53am alongside Jim Carvill (Banbridge) and Peter Sheehan (Ballybunion). The Offaly native feels his move to Seniors has opened up more opportunities going forward.
“It’s my second year playing Seniors, I really enjoy it. Even though I’m still playing Men’s events and towards my late 40s I had some good days at the Men’s but I was feeling less and less relevant,” said Lyons.
“I won the Munster Strokeplay in 2019 and I was on a winning Interpros team in 2021 but I was feeling less competitive. The Seniors was like a new lease of life and I was looking forward to it for years.
“We’re very lucky we play a sport that values people as they get older. Golf, both professional and amateur, there seems to be huge amount of value placed on keeping people active.
“To have such an active Seniors’ division is brilliant and we are very lucky.”