The race is on to secure a place on the Ireland team to face the United States of America in the third edition of the International King's Cup at Lough Erne Resort in Co. Fermanagh.
Connacht's superb Westport Golf Club hosted the opening provincial qualifier with Portumna duo John Cleary and Adrian Hogan leading the way in the Championship section with a fabulous better-ball score of 70.
Two pairs that played key roles in Ireland's 2017 King's Cup success are also in the frame for another crack at the Americans. In the 10-14.9 handicap bracket, Westport's John Collins and Liam Friel progressed in the senior section while Kevin Commins (Ardee GC) and Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill GC) made it through as open section winners.
Joining them in the final qualifier - against their provincial rivals - at Lough Erne on Sunday April 15 are Ian Walsh (Westport GC) and Michael Cullingworth (Westport GC), Danny McGrath (Tuam GC) and Joe Mullaly (Tuam GC), Michael O’Donnell (Westport GC) and Tom Browne (Westport GC) and Eamon Kirwan (Shannon GC) and John Doyle (Castletroy GC).
The International Kings Cup Match Play event, played in honour of golf’s greatest ambassador, Arnold Palmer, has now established itself as a leading tournament on the amateur calendar.
Supported by Tourism NI the tournament, structured like the Ryder Cup, was created in 2016 when the United States Golf Challenge, the largest pairs better-ball tournament in the US brought their leading eight pairs -16-man amateur team across the Atlantic to compete against Ireland in the first ever International Kings Cup.
Both teams stay on-site at the Lough Erne Resort, with full access to The Golf Academy, receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and attend two Gala dinners as part of the event.
This year's International King's Cup, with Ireland going for a hat-trick of wins, will run from 14-18 May.