Des Smyth wants to complete a links hat-trick when the Irish Seniors Open touches down in Ballybunion next month.

The Drogheda star, 56, finished sixth at the classic Kerry links when it hosted the millennium Murphy's Irish Open in 2000.

And he can't wait to get back there to take on Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam from June 5-7 and challenge for a title that's struggling to find a sponsor for 2010.

Set to return to action in Mallorca this week, Smyth said: "I've got a great run of links golf coming up with the Irish Seniors Open at Ballybunion and then the Jersey Seniors at La Moye and the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors at Royal Portcawl.

"I won on the main tour at La Moye and Portcawl so it would be fantastic to do it at Ballybunion. I love it down there and gave it a good run in 2000 in the Irish Open."

The Old Course at Ballybunion consistently ranks in the world's top 10 courses with five-time Open champion Tom Watson its No 1 fan.

Club pro Brian O'Callaghan has seen all the greats of the game drop by for a round on their way to the British Open with eight current or future major champions turning up on the same day in 1998.

O'Callaghan said: "It wasn't the normal Thursday at work — it was very exciting. Mark O'Meara played with Tiger Woods and Payne Stewart. Then Ernie Els came with his family, Greg Norman turned up and so did Jim Furyk.

"Then Tom Watson appeared with Ben Crenshaw. They all come here to play the course before the Open. I remember staying up all night with Tom Watson talking about the golf swing during one of his visits."

The Irish Seniors Open is one of the jewel's in the crown of the European Seniors Tour but with long time sponsors AIB pulling out next year after 13 years, the future is unsure.

The prize fund is down by €100,000 to €350,000 this season and Charles Perring from European Seniors Tour can't guarantee that there will be an Irish Seniors Open next year.

He said: "We have had AIB on board for the last 13 years and like all the banks, they are suffering.

"We need to find a replacement for AIB and I honestly can't say for sure that there will be an Irish Seniors Open next year.

"We have two thirds of the finance to make it happen, we still have time on our side and we will be talking to all the tourist boards and governments.

"This tournament keeps the great links courses of Ireland in the public domain and it is worth keeping it going."