Changes to Women’s & Girls Championship and West of Ireland

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Sara Byrne in action during the AIG Irish Women's Amateur Close Championship at Connemara Golf Links. Photo: Thos Caffrey / Golffile.

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Significant changes to the AIG Irish Women’s and Girls’ Close Championships, Mid-Amateur championships at national and regional level, and a return to the traditional format of the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship are among the highlights of the 2024 championship programme in Ireland, ahead of online entries opening on 1 February.

Golf Ireland will also reintroduce the Irish Boys’ and Irish Girls’ Amateur Open Championships as stand-alone events in 2024, with Flogas extending their sponsorship to include these events as well as their continued support of the Irish Men’s and Women’s Amateur Open Championships.

Following a detailed process, Golf Ireland will stage three Women’s and Girls’ competitions over a four-day period in a new ‘AIG Irish Women’s and Girls’ Amateur Close Championship week’ which will take place from 30 July to 2 August in Roscommon Golf Club.

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On Days 1 and 2, there will be two 36-hole stroke play championships – the AIG Irish Girls’ Amateur Close Stroke Play Championship and the AIG Irish Over-18 Women’s Amateur Close Stroke Play Championship. The winners of each will be crowned AIG Close Stroke Play Champion in their respective category, with the top-12 scores across both of those championships joining four exempt players based on WAGR positions in the AIG Irish Women’s Amateur Close Championship on Days 3 and 4, which will consist of four rounds of match play.

Exemptions will only be given to players who have entered the Close but who are competing in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship the previous weekend, and where fewer than four exemptions are extended, additional places will go to players based on scores on the first two days of the AIG Close Championship week.

In addition, the next 16 best scores in the AIG Irish Girls’ Amateur Close Championship on Days 1 and 2 will contest the Irish Girls’ Amateur Plate on Days 3 and 4. Likewise, the next 16 best scores in the AIG Irish Over-18 Women’s Amateur Close Championship will contest the Irish Women’s Amateur Plate on Days 3 and 4.

Another key change for 2024 is the reduction of the lower age limit for Men’s Mid-Amateur Championships to 25. This is being done in response to the introduction by the European Golf Association of a European Mid-Amateur Team Championship for Men and Women; however, there will be a proviso in the regulations to ensure that at least 75% of the field in Mid-Amateur Championships going forward will be from the previously-eligible pool of over-30s. The Irish Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship will remain open to any female players over-18 years of age, consistent with the over-18 championships at Regional level.

The ISPS Handa Irish Open for Players with a Disability will be once again played at Roganstown, but with both Roganstown and Swords Open courses playing host to different categories within the event, which will be open to an expanded field.

The West of Ireland Men’s Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo will return to its familiar format of 36 holes qualifying followed by six rounds of knockout match play contested by the leading 64 players. The traditional format returns as a result of a review by the Championship Committee following a two-year trial of an alternative format of 54 holes stroke play with 16 qualifying for match play.

County Sligo will also be hosting the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship on 9-12 May. An added carrot for this year’s event will be a Challenge Tour start in the Irish Challenge at the K Club in early August for the winner of the Championship, and for the leading Irish player if an overseas player wins the title.

The Flogas Irish Women’s Amateur Open Championship takes place in Woodbrook once again, but on the new date of 15-17 June in an attempt to capitalize on the large influx of overseas players in Ireland for the Women’s Amateur Championship, which takes place in Portmarnock the following week.

 

Click here for a summary of key changes to championships in 2024.

Click here to view the latest Championship fixture list.

Click here to go to online entries (open from 1 February 2024).

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