Conor Purcell hopes home advantage can help him win The 124th Amateur Championship as Portmarnock and The Island co-host the event next week, from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 June.
The 20-year-old, a semi-finalist in the event at Royal Aberdeen last year, is a member at Portmarnock, where his father, Joey, was head professional.
At close of entries for the 288-player field, three players were ranked in the top 10 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking and 17 inside the top 50, with competitors from 37 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa and the USA.
Purcell hopes to build on a season which has seen him win the Australian Amateur Championship in January as he bids to become the first Irish player since Alan Dunbar at Royal Troon in 2012 to win the championship.
The Walker Cup squad member, the leading player from Ireland and Britain in the field, said:
“The hardest thing to do in the championship is to probably make the cut after 36 holes. If you can do that, it’s about playing who is in front of you and going on a run. I’ve been playing nicely and not really been treating any one week different to the other so I’ll look to do the same.”
Purcell defeated David Micheluzzi at the quarter-final stage in 2018, with the Australian returning to the event for a fourth occasion in 2019 – this time as the highest-ranked player in the field at fifth in the world ranking, while American Akshay Bhatia, ranked seventh, India’s Rayhan Thomas and another leading Australian, Blake Windred, are also among those looking to succeed.
With exemptions into The British Open at Royal Portrush in July, the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament, there is much at stake as the field look to emulate last year’s champion, Jovan Rebula from South Africa.
It is only the second time The Amateur Championship has been hosted outside Britain, with Portmarnock previously staging the event in 1949. The Island is co-hosting the event for the first time in its history.
The Amateur Championship sees the field take part in the stroke play stage on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 June, playing 18 holes over each of the two courses. From there, 64 players and ties will advance to the match play stage at Portmarnock from Wednesday 19 to Saturday 22 June. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes, with the Final being played over 36 holes.
Notable past champions of The Amateur Championship include major winners José María Olazábal (1984) and Sergio Garcia (1998), the current Britain and Ireland men’s team captain Craig Watson (1997) and, more recently, Matteo Manassero (2009) and Romain Langasque (2015).
Entry is free of charge throughout the week for all spectators at Portmarnock and The Island.