Irish Amateur Open Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

20th May 2018

Round 4

Home favourite Robin Dawson today completed a memorable wire to wire victory in the Irish Amateur Open.


Robin Dawson (Photo: Cashman Photography)

However, the final day proved to be anything but the crowning procession many expected for the man from Tramore G.C. After a steady start a double bogey on 9, then a bogey on 14 and finally a triple bogey on 15 meant our leader put himself under some pressure and gave the chasing pack a little encouragement as the Championship came to a close. However, in the end he gathered himself and despite a further bogey on 17 was able to post a 77 for a winning 282 (-2) total.

Robin’s 6 shot buffer at the start of play, built up after an impressive first 54 holes, including a best of the week 65 on the opening day, certainly came in useful.


Robin Dawson’s Championship Scorecard (Photo: / Golfbox Scoring) 

John Gough (ENG) and Alex Gleeson (IRE), who both finished strongly with a 70 and 71 respectively, tied for 2nd on +2. Alex Fitzpatrick (ENG) was one shot further back on +3 after a final round 76.

Jack Cope (ENG) recorded the best round of the day with a 69 (-2) to move 36 places up the leaderboard for a creditable tied 7th result. Darren Howie (SCO) matched Gough’s 70 to finish tied 13th, a leap of 30 places.

Click this link to view the final – Irish Amateur Open Championship Results


19th May 2018

Round 3

Front running is hard and even more so at a course as difficult as Royal County Down, where potential disaster is around most corners. That’s what makes Robin Dawson’s (IRE) performance over the first three days so impressive. His 69 today leaves him with a 6 shot lead going into tomorrow’s final round.

Alex Fitzpatrick (ENG) also did well. There was no shame in his 73 (+2) and he will start the fourth round as Robin’s nearest challenger.

Both Todd Clements (ENG) and Laird Shepherd (ENG) shot 68’s (-3) today to make big jumps up the leaderboard, finishing in the top 5 and top 15 respectively.

James Sugrue (IRE) and Olly Huggins (ENG) also shot noteworthy 71’s and have the chance to record high finishes on Sunday.

The top 50 and ties cut eventually fell at +12 with 55 players qualifying for the final round. One of them was Mitch Waite (ENG) who was rewarded for a brave 71 by getting through on the mark.

Matthew Jordan (ENG) retired after 5 holes of his third round. He was +3 for the day and +4 for the Championship at the time.

The final round starts at 8.00am tomorrow morning with the leading threesome setting off at 11.29am.



18th May 2018

Round 2

A 71 (Ev) on Friday for Robin Dawson saw the Irishman maintain the lead on 136 (-6) at Royal County Down G.C.

The only other player under par at the half way stage is Yorkshire’s Alex Fitzpatrick. His 70 (-1), including his second eagle of the Championship, this time on the opening par 5, moved him to -4 and reduced Robin’s lead to just 2 shots.

Alex Gleeson (74) and Andrew Wilson (73) are tied third on Even par, neither able to back up their under par rounds from Day 1.

Scoring proved to be much tougher than yesterday with Switzerland’s Robert Foley producing the round of the day with a very solid 69 (-2); three birdies offset by a single bogey on the 440 yard par 4 5th. His +2 36 hole total comfortably sees him in the top 20 heading into the weekend.

By way of reminder the top 50 and ties cut comes into affect after round 3 so all of the players are out on the links again tomorrow. There are currently 56 players on +6 or better so extrapolating this suggests the cut will fall on or around +9.

The more notable players already outside this target include Sam Locke SCO (+10), Tom Plumb ENG (+10), Wilco Nienaber RSA (+11), Gian-Marco Petrozzi ENG (+11) and Mitch Waite ENG (+12).



17th May 2018

Round 1

Robin Dawson shot a superb 65 (-6) on Day 1 of the Irish Amateur Open to take a three shot lead. Seven birdies around Royal County Down G.C. is some achievement, particularly when they are paired with just one bogey.


Robin Dawson’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: / Golfbox Scoring) 

Fellow Irishman Alex Gleeson, who recorded six birdies in his round, is second alongside Alex Fitzpatrick (ENG) after both posted 68’s (-3). Fitzpatrick started his back nine with two birdies and an eagle to set up his score.

Matthew Jordan (ENG), the lowest ranked player in the field, is part of an eight-way tie for fourth on -2. The recent Lytham Trophy winner had five birdies offset primarily by a double bogey on 16.

Matt Saulez (RSA), David Hague (ENG) and Kristoffer Reitan (NOR) are also in this large group who shot 69.

Defending champion Peter O’Keeffe (IRE) is tied 16th on Even par. This represented a great recovery for the Douglas man who stood on the 10th tee on +4. Five birdies, including three in a row to finish his round, saved the day nicely.

There was disappointment for Gian-Marco Petrozzi (ENG) 78 / +7, Tom Plumb (ENG) 78 / +7 and Sam Locke (SCO) 76 / +5, who all arrived in good form but struggled in Round 1. There is of course still plenty of time for a recovery.



16th May 2018

The 2018 Irish Amateur Open Championship, sponsored by Flogas, starts on Thursday 17th May at Royal County Down G.C.


Royal County Down G.C. (Photo: Chris Hill)

Format and Tee Times

A field of 138 golfers from 12 diffrent countries will tee off in what will be the 81st playing of this famous competition.

The Irish Amateur Open is a 72-hole stroke play event organised by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI). 18 holes are played on the first three days before a top 50 and ties cut is made. A final 18 holes are then played by the leading competitors.

View the Draw for Rounds 1 and 2 here – 2018 Irish Amateur Open Tee Times

In the event of a tie for the Championship the players concerned will play 3 holes of stroke play. The player with the lowest aggregate total being the winner. If a winner still hasn’t been determined then the play-off moves to sudden death over the same holes.

The Irish Amateur Open Champion Golfer is awarded a magnificent silver trophy. Irish winners are allowed to take the trophy back to their Club for the year whereas overseas winners must return it to the GUI after the prize presentation.


Royal County Down G.C. is one of the finest courses in the world and will once again provide a great test for the players.

Playing off the blue championship tees the course measures 7,186 yards and plays to a par of 71. The front nine is 3,579 yards (par 35) and the back nine 3,607 yards (par 36).

Players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.30pm on each of the first three days so changes in the weather and wind speeds can be expected to play a big part in scoring.


Many of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing in Northern Ireland.

Here is a list of the leading players in the field based on recent form and the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR / as at 16th May): –

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) – SPWAR 14th
Winner of the 2018 Lytham Trophy Matthew finished tied 4th here last year before embarking on a great run of form that led to his selection for the 2017 Walker Cup team.

The 2017 English Amateur champion has recently finished 2nd in the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School and 1st in the European Nations Cup Individual.

Matt SAULEZ (RSA) – SPWAR 27th
Matt has been building an impressive resume over the last 3 years with numerous top 10 finishes back home.

Malcolm MITCHELL (RSA) – SPWAR 33rd
Arrives in the UK on the back of two very solid season’s in South Africa, including 5 wins in 2017.

A prolific winner of junior events in South Africa in recent years as well as winner of the Western Province Open Amateur in April.

A superb win at the 2018 South African Amateur followed up with another at the All Africa Junior Challenge has seen Deon arrive in the UK full of confidence.

David HAGUE (ENG) – SPWAR 90th
David has enjoyed a good last 12 months with wins at the 2017 Lagonda Trophy and North of England Open. He was unbeaten in last weekend’s France v. England match.

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) – SPWAR 91st
Now established as one of GB&I’s leading players Gian-Marco won the Welsh Open Amateur in 2017 and the New South Wales Amateur in Australia earlier this year. He tied 2nd in the European Nations Cup Individual at Sotogrande a few weeks ago.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) – SPWAR 104th
The medalist at last year’s Amateur Championship has made a good start to this season, recently finishing tied 12th at the European Nations Cup and tied 14th at the Lytham Trophy.

Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) – SPWAR 109th
One of Europe’s better players in recent years Kristoffer started the year at the University of Texas before leaving after one semester. He seems destined to turn Pro later this year. He played in Europe’s 2018 Bonallack Trophy team in Qatar.

Alex GLEESON (IRE) – SPWAR 127th
After a good playing trip to South Africa Alex is finding form at the right time. He arrives having recently reached the final of the West of Ireland and having finished tied 2nd in the European Nations Cup Individual.

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – SPWAR 128th
Like Alex Robin played well in South Africa and, having just missed out on a Walker cup spot in 2017, will be looking for some big performances in the next two months to secure a place in GB&I’s St. Andrews Trophy Team.

Ben JONES (ENG) – SPWAR 151st
Winner of the U18 Duke of York at nearby Royal Liverpool GC last year and tied 2nd at the Portuguese International Amateur earlier in 2018. He was unbeaten in last weekend’s France v. England match with some big wins to his name.

Sam LOCKE (SCO) – SPWAR 205th
Sam won the Scottish Amateur last year and is moving quickly up the rankings. He has had 4 top 10’s this year including a tied 3rd at the Lytham Trophy.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) – SPWAR 243rd
Mitch recently won the Hampshire Hog and Hampshire Salver competitions. He was also runner-up at the recent Lytham Trophy. His tied 4th place at last year’s Irish Amateur Open, played at Royal County Down G.C., also bodes well for his chances this year.

Weather Forecast

The latest weather forecast (as at Wednesday 16th May) currently looks good for all four competition days – mainly sunny with relatively modest winds.

Thu 17th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 9 mph SE / Temp. Min. 5°C / Max. 13°C.
Fri  18th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 9 mph SSW / Temp. Min. 7°C / Max. 14°C.
Sat  19th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 14 mph SSE / Temp. Min. 9°C / Min. 15°C.
Sun 20th May – Cloudy & Showers / Wind 12 mph SSE / Temp. Min. 10°C / Max. 14°C.

The 2017 Irish Amateur Open Championship

Peter O’Keeffe won the 2017 Irish Amateur Open at Royal County Down G.C.

Peter shot rounds of 70, 70, 73 and 73 for a 286 (+2) total and a 3 shot victory over Chris MacLean (SCO) and Tom Sloman (ENG), who both finished on 289 (+5).

Mitch Waite (ENG), Josh Hilleard (ENG) and Matthew Jordan (ENG) finished tied 4th on 290 (+6). Both Mitch and Matthew are playing again this year and will arrive as two of the most in-form players in GB&I.


     John O’Keeffe, Peter O’Keeffe, John Boylan and Noel O’Keeffe

(Photo: Douglas G.C. / O’Keeffe Family)

Click this link to view the 2017 Irish Amateur Open – Final Results

History, Past Winners and Records

The Irish Amateur Open Championship was first played in 1892 with early winners including amateur greats John Ball and Harold Hilton.

Between 1894 and 1901 (6 years) the competition was played as part of the Irish Championship Meeting alongside a professional tournament.

The Championship was not played during both World Wars – 1914-18 and 1940-45.

It was also not played between 1960 and 1994, I assume, due to a lack of interest from overseas players amidst concerns over safety.

Prior to 1958 it was a match play event but since returning to the amateur calendar in 1995 has been stroke play.

To view a list of past winners click here – Irish Amateur Open Past Champions


Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.