Walker Cup hopeful Jack Hume will defend his Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at Co Sligo in three weeks' time. But he will not have to face Irish team mates Gavin Moynihan or Gary Hurley, who will join in him and Irish Close champion John Ross Galbraith for two events in Argentina from March 19.
The quartet do not get back to Ireland until shortly before the start of the West but while the GUI was granted four exemptions for the internationals only two were needed.
Moynihan has decided to rest after a busy start to the season while Hurley will play the R&A Foundation's Scholars Tournament, leaving Galbraith to take up a bye straight into the matchplay alongside defending champion Hume.
The Naas ace captured his first major title at the 'West' 12 months ago when he beat former Irish Amateur champion Robbie Cannon on the 18th in the decider.
Keen to make an impression early in the season with the Walker Cup on the horizon, Hume said: "It was nice to get my first major championship win. Hopefully I can go back and defend it this year."
Now playing off plus four, his chances of emulating Rory McIlroy's back-to-back wins in 2005 and 2006 have been boosted by the fact that he has been given a bye through to the match play stages.
Irish Close champion Galbraith will also bypass the stroke play qualifier. As both players are competing in Argentina the week before the West at the Southern Cross Invitational.
Hume is one of five Irish players in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup squad. Currently ranked 32nd in the world, the 21-year-old is facing into the biggest season of his career.
"It's (Walker Cup) a while off yet but it's definitely a team that I want to be on. I'm sure it'll come down to form when the picks are being made," Hume said. Meanwhile he will return to Rosses Point with a pep in his step.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back there really," he said. "I've always liked the course. It's a nice place as long as the weather doesn't get too bad. There's a lot of nice holes. It's well designed. All the members are very nice, they love their golf. It's a good place to be."
Defending his title will bring some added pressure but Hume won't be doing anything different.
"I'll approach it like I did last year. It's a match play tournament so you need to be ready for every round," he said.
Local favourites Gary McDermott, who now plays out of Carton House, is the leading Sligo player in the field. Hopes of a first home win since Cecil Ewing in 1950 will largely rest on McDermott's shoulders although Barry Anderson (Royal Dublin), Steffan O'Hara, Sean Flanagan, Declan Reidy and David Brady will also fly the flag for Sligo.
Last year's beaten finalist, Robbie Cannon, is also entered while there are seven places available in the pre-qualifier, which takes place the Wednesday (1 April) beforehand. This year's cut fell at 0.2 for the Championship proper, with the qualifier cut mark at 3.0.
The first round gets underway on Good Friday (3 April) and to mark the 30th anniversary of his victory, Jimmy Feeney will once more bestride the famous links.
"It just came up and I thought I could go this year so I'll try but I didn't want to just make up the numbers. If I can get into the match play that would be great," said Feeney, who clinched a remarkable win on his debut in 1985.
Draw available at https://www.golfnet.ie/Events/GUI/Players%20Pack%20-%20Complete.pdf
2015 West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship, Co. Sligo Golf Club April 3 – April 7
In Association with Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo
Championship 36 Hole Strokeplay Qualifying on April 3 & 4, 2015 (Handicap Cut fell at 0.2)
1 07.30 11.10 Qualifier 1 Qualifier 2 Qualifier 3
2 07.41 11.21 Qualifier 4 Qualifier 5 Qualifier 6
3 07.52 11.32 Qualifier 7 Ian Lynch (Rosslare) Edward Ryan (Lucan)
4 08.03 11.43 Sean Alley (Co Tipperary) Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little)
5 08.14 11.54 Stephen Barker (Mourne) Seanie Barry (Fota Island) Ben Best (Rathmore)
6 08.25 12.05 Gareth Bohill (Co Louth) David Brady (Co Sligo) Michael Brett (Portmarnock)
7 08.36 12.16 Stephen Brady (Galway) * Richard Bridges (Stackstown) Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint)
8 08.47 12.27 Michael Buggy (Castlecomer) Robert J Cannon (Balbriggan) Shaun Carter (Stackstown)
9 08.58 12.38 Tony Cleary (Dromoland) Theo Coffey (Slieve Russell) Gary Collins (Rosslare)
10 09.09 12.49 Roy Connolly (Palmerstown Stud) Paul Coughlan (Moate) Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint)
11 08.20 13.00 Keith Crowley (Fota Island) Colm Crowley (Woodbrook) Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell)
12 09.31 13.11 Barry Daly (Edmondstown) Jamie Dick (England) Colin Fairweather (Knock)
13 09.42 13.22 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) Gerard Dunne (Co Louth) Evan Farrell (Ardee)
14 09.53 13.33 Jimmy Feeney (England) Alex Gleeson (Castle) Sean Flanagan (Co Sligo)
15 10.04 13.44 Gavin Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) James Fox (Portmarnock) Cian Geraghty (L’town & B’town)
16 10.15 13.55 Jonathan Gourley (Shandon Park) Aaron Grant (Dundalk) John Greene (Portmarnock)
17 10.26 14.06 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) William Hanna (Warrenpoint) Edwin Hannon (Kanturk)
18 10.37 14.17 Kyle (Harmon (Wales) Stephen Healy (Carton House) John Hickey (Cork)
19 10.48 14.28 Ken Andre Wright (Norway) Shane Hogan (Nenagh) Daniel Holland (Castle)
20 10.59 14.39 Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) Jeff Hopkins (The Royal Dublin) Mathew Kane (Whitehead)
21 11.10 07.30 Declan O’Neill (Carton House) Joe Lyons (Galway) Ian Kettyle (Rathmore)
22 11.21 07.41 Stephen Kinch (Hollystown) Mark King (Cregmore Park) Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin)
23 11.32 07.52 Kevin Le Blanc (The Island) Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) Eoin Leonard (Wentworth)
24 11.43 08.03 James Lindsay (North West) Simon McConnell (Ballyclare) Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay)
25 11.54 08.14 Andrew McCormack (Newcastlewest) Gary McDermott (Carton House) Kelan McDonagh (The Royal Dublin)
26 12.05 08.25 Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) Shane McGlynn (Hollystown) Thomas Mulligan (Co Louth)
27 12.16 08.36 Gavin McKenna (Fortwilliam) Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) James McLoughin (Portumna)
28 12.27 08.47 Mathew McPartlin (Carton House) Des Morgan (New Forrest) Mark Morrissey (Mount Wolesly)
29 12.38 08.58 Paul Murphy (Rosslare) Robert Neville (Links Portmarnock) Patrick Neville (Bearna)
30 12.49 09.09 Pat Murray (Limerick) Steffan O’Hara (Co Sligo) Shaun O’Connor (Carton House)
31 13.00 08.20 Thomas O’Connor (Athlone) Marc Nolan (Delgany) Conor O’Rourke (Naas)
32 13.11 09.31 Jason O’Leary (Dromoland) Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk)
33 13.22 09.42 David Reddan (Nenagh) Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle) Declan Reidy (Co. Sligo)
34 13.33 09.53 John Reynolds (Dungarvan) William Russell (Clandeboye) Sean Ryan (The Royal Dublin)
35 13.44 10.04 Paul Flynn (Tramore) Niall Gorey (Palmerstown Stud) Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr)
36 13.55 10.15 Michael Sinclair (Knock) Tom Sloman (Knock) Eugene Smith (Ardee)
37 14.06 10.26 Kevin Stack (Dungarvan) Jamie Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) David Sutton (Lurgan)
38 14.17 10.37 Alan Thomas (Dungarvan) Stephen Walsh (Portmarnock) Jake Whelan (Newlands)
39 14.28 10.48 Devin Morley (Oughterard) * Kieran Lynch (Skibbereen) Ian Spillane (Mallow)
40 14.39 10.59 Ian O’Rourke (The Royal Dublin) Jonathan Yates (Naas) Gavin Young (Birr)
* Exemptions nominated by the Connacht Provincial Council in accordance with Tournament Condition No. 12.d.
NOTES: Withdrawal – Any Competitor who finds that he is unable to play in the Championship, please notify the Connacht Branch Office immediately on +353 (0)94-9028141 or by Email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or 086-6016553 if in the last 24 hrs before event.