Royal Dublin’s Foley set for title defence

by Gazette Reporter
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Valerie Clancy

Reigning North of Ireland champion Hugh Foley is hoping for a successful week as he looks to defend his title at Royal Portrush.  

The final Bridgestone series event will take place this weekend at the North of Ireland Men’s Amateur Open.

Royal Portrush welcomes 134 players to compete across their Valley Links and Dunluce Links on the first two days of the event. The final day of the event will see the top 45 players and ties compete over 36 holes on the Dunluce links.

Foley will tee off at 11.40am on the Valley links alongside Bridgestone order of merit leader David Shiel (Enniscrone) and Matthew Wilson (Forres).

The Royal Dublin golfer will bring a wealth of experience to the event as he will hope to put his name on the trophy for the second time having won the championship last year alongside the South of Ireland.

“It’s pretty cool to come back. Unfortunately, I had to miss the South this year so it’s nice to come back and play the North and looking forward to playing Portrush,” said Foley.  

“I always look forward to that. Weather looks like it might hold up so we should get four rounds without any delays so definitely looking forward to it.”

Seventy-two players battled it out at Galgorm Castle on Monday in a North of Ireland qualifier with the top 16 players joining the exempt field for the event.

“The 72-hole stroke play championship is a tough format for the competitors as they will have to master both of Royal Portrush’s challenging links and Foley will hope experience will pay off once again.  

“The North is probably the longest championship I’ve been playing in probably since like 2016,” said Foley.

“Definitely playing across the two courses, it’s two totally different courses and needs two different strategies. Dunluce is an amazing championship course and with any bit of tough weather it’s going to be really tough but it’s also a great fun place to play so even if the scores aren’t great, you’re still enjoying it, so should be good.”

Coming off the back of a top-64 finish at the US Mid-Amateur and a fourth place finish at the European Amateur Championship earlier in the season, the 26-year-old will look to keep his momentum going.  

“I’ve been playing ok. I’ve been clawing seven or eight good holes together and then a few bad ones. My short game has been good and I’m just trying to straighten it up a bit but feeling good and hopefully this week will be a better week for me,” said Foley.  

“I’m going to Q school as an amateur in Denmark so it will be a great week to get sharp for that as well.”

Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley will attempt to defend the North of Ireland championship he won last year at Royal Portrush.

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