North of Ireland Amateur Championship set for July

Andrew Spence, Principal Optometrist at Cathedral Eye Clinic, presents the trophy to Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 2015. �Matt Mackey - Presseye.com
Andrew Spence, Principal Optometrist at Cathedral Eye Clinic, presents the trophy to Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 2015. �Matt Mackey - Presseye.com

The Cathedral Eye North of Ireland Amateur Golf Championship will create a little bit of history this year when the tournament is staged from July 11-15.

Part of the tournament will be moved away from Royal Portrush and played at nearby Portstewart.

The switch is caused because of redevelopment work on the Portrush links leading up to the staging of the British Open Championship there in 2019. Normally, both the Dunluce and Valley courses are used for North of Ireland Championship qualifying but this section of the event will be moved to Portstewart this year.

However, the matchplay stages will, as usual, be played over the Dunluce links from Wednesday, July 13 to Friday, July 15. There was no way that Royal Portrush would give up the North Championship, even for one year, entirely. The competition has been played annually at Royal Portrush from 1947 when Jay Fitzsimons defeated Jack Kissock by 8&7 in the final.

“Royal Portrush Golf Club is going through exciting times with course changes in preparation for The Open in 2019. Three new holes have been constructed on the Valley Links and will become the new 15th, 16th [old 17th], 17th and 18th,” said Richard McLaughlin, the Royal Portrush captain.

“The new holes will be ready for play in late May, weather dependent, but it was agreed they will not be in Championship condition for July. We are delighted that Portstewart Golf Club have agreed to co-host the Qualifying in 2016 and appreciate their support.”

Changes to the Dunluce Links are also well under way and it is hoped that the 2017 North of Ireland will be played over the new holes on both links. Cathedral Eye Clinic are continuing their sponsorship of the North of Ireland Championship and are, also, offering a free laser eye correction suitability appointment to Golfing Union of Ireland members.