Egan to hit opening tee shot at the Amateur: “It will be very cool”

Ronan MacNamara

Keith Egan - the 2024 Connolly Motor Group West of Ireland champion

Ronan MacNamara

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West of Ireland champion Keith Egan will get the 129th Amateur Championship underway at 06:45am when he strikes the opening tee shot at Ballyliffin’s Glashedy course on Monday morning.

The Carton House star earned his spot in the field as the leading qualifier on Friday and he will tee it up in his fourth Amateur Championship and first since 2022.

“It’s very rare that we get the Amateur on Irish turf. I know we did in Portmarnock a few years ago but I actually didn’t play in it. It’s very rare so you need to make the most of it, there’s so many Irish playing in it that it feels like a home event, it’s very unique and very special,” said Egan.”

The atmosphere was already starting to build in the tournament pre qualifier and Egan is hoping there will be a big crowd out to support the 26 Irish players as the week progresses.

The championship will get underway with 36 holes of strokeplay played across the Glashedy and Old Links courses. As is customary with the Amateur the field is spread across two courses for the opening 36 holes before the field is whittled down to 64 for the matchplay stages.

Usually the two courses are a significant distance apart but the two courses this week run side by side in Ballyliffin which Egan hopes will attract a decent crowd earlier than anticipated.

“There was a few randomers out following groups which was cool, you are going to get a lot of local support which is great. I’d say even people around Donegal and Derry will come up and you will get a good crowd on Monday. It’s also cool because it’s very rare that you get two courses so close together in the Amateur. Portmarnock and the Island are far away from each other but on Monday both courses sort of intertwine so there will be a great atmosphere so it will be very cool.”

Egan has had some close shaves in the Amateur Championship, missing out on the matchplay stages by a shot on two occasions and he having missed out on playing a home Amateur in 2019 in Portmarnock he hopes he can end his knockout stage hoodoo and go on a run this week.

“This is my fourth I played in Porthcawl in 2018, Nairn 2021 and Lytham in 2022. I’ve missed out on the matchplay twice by a shot but I feel decent, so I am just looking forward to getting started and trying to shoot as low a score as possible. I played well in the qualifier and both courses suit me so I know I can play well on them.

“It seems like it will be windy which is very good, proper links weather which puts a huge value on having a game plan. Try get through the qualifying and hopefully go on a run in the matchplay.”

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