Alex Maguire hoping to experience more home comforts at Baltray

Alex Maguire in action during the Brabazon Trophy in Sunningdale recently. Photo: David Lloyd / Golffile.

By Valerie Clancy.

Reigning champion Alex Maguire says local knowledge is a big advantage as he looks to defend his crown at Baltray in the East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship.

County Louth Golf Club welcomes 131 challengers for Maguire’s crown today [Saturday], with the Laytown and Bettystown youngster aiming to continue his fine form and go back-to-back.


A recent top 15 finish at the Brabazon Trophy continues the momentum after a fourth-place finish at the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship, where Maguire was the leading Irish player in The Island.

The 22-year-old Florida Atlantic University student has just returned from his studies Stateside and will look to keep trending in the right direction on a familiar golf course.

“I’m feeling pretty good. The last two tournaments went ok for me, I’m in a decent position going into this weekend,” said Maguire.

“I won’t put too much added pressure on myself. I have high expectations and with it being so close to home there is already enough pressure. I don’t really see it as defending champion, obviously there is a lot of stuff that comes with that and more eyes on you, but I don’t really feel that too much.

“I try to block out as much as I can and will focus on what I can do and if I take care of what I can control then it will be a good start to the week.

“I’d be very familiar with Baltray. I’ve played junior competitions there as a kid, so I had many opportunities to play there growing up and in the summers. Leinster gave me a few exemptions into the championship when I was around 16 or 17, and on Leinster panels, so I’ve played the East three times now.

“It’s close enough to me, I live around 15 minutes away from the course, so I’d be very familiar with it. It’s nice playing in front of a home crowd, feeling support is great. It’s tough when you are playing with no one around you, it adds to it being more special when family and friends are out supporting you. “

Maguire is now sixth in the Bridgestone Order of Merit, where David Shiel (Enniscrone) and Marc Boucher (Carton House) still lead the way, while Grange’s Jake Whelan climbed up to third place after a top 10 finish in the Ulster Stroke Play.

For Maguire it will be an early start, he tees off at 7.41am this morning alongside Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) and Matt McClean (Malone). And if he can survive the cut on Sunday evening he will have every chance to taste another success.

“I started my year in the States with a pretty slow start in the Spring. I didn’t get much out of my game; I was finishing around 20th a lot,” said Maguire.

“I was left quite frustrated but then I finished in fourth at our conference championship at the end of the season. Being in contention there and feeling that sort of nerves again was nice coming back into the season here, as it’s a pretty big summer schedule.

“I came straight home and played in the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur a couple of weeks ago and it was nice to be in contention again.”

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