Big Irish contingent seeking Spanish success
Sherry Golf, venue for the 2015 Spanish Amateur Open Championship

Sherry Golf, venue for the 2015 Spanish Amateur Open Championship

Ten Irish men and five women begin their bids for glory in the Spanish Amateur Championship across southern Spain today.

The Spanish International Ladies’ Amateur Championship is taking place at Real Club Pineda de Sevilla with Maria Dunne (Skerries), Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down Ladies), Niamh McSherry (Lurgan), Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) and Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) all chasing this coveted matchplay title.

But there is also a big Irish contingent entered for the men's championship at Sherry Golf in Cadiz with Eugene Smith, Colm Campbell, Robin Dawson, Geoff Lenehan, Dermot McElroy, Jack Hume, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan, John-Ross Galbraith and Richard Bridges hoping to follow in the footsteps of Reeve Whitson (2013) or Darren Clarke (1990).

Spanish Amateur Open, Men's tee-times

Spanish Amateur Open, Women's tee-times

Spain's Daniel Berná, the first home winner of the title since Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño in 2003, is defending his title. He's not the biggest Spanish challenger, however, with world No 3 Mario Galiano (+4.5 handicap) looking to add to his two wins already this year, including last week's individual title in the Euopean Nations Cup.

His compatriots Iván Cantero (+4.5),Xabier Gorospe (+3.8) and Víctor Pastor (+3.2) will also be gunning for glory alongside back-to-back European champion  Ashley Chesters (+4,8) of England.

Hume (+4,5) and Moynihan (+4,5) will also be fancied to challenge as will the Italians Guido Migliozzi (+4.7) and Teodoro Soldati (+3.9), French pair Leonard Bem (+3.2) and Romain Langasque (+4.7) and Germany'sMatthias Hirmer (+4,4).

Ireland's charges will also be hoiping to inpress the Walkjer Cup selectors as well as new Irish captain Tony Goode. 

But there's also plenty of optimism among the women as they take on Real Club Pineda de Sevilla looking to add to Lisa Maguire's win of 2011.

Skerries star Dunne tied for second in the South American Amateur Championship in Peru in February while Castletroy's Chloe Ryan will be hoping to improve on her run to the quarter finals last year.

Ryan was disappointed to be forced to settle for a top 10 finish in the recent Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Championship and is clearly playing well.

The 99-strong field with will play 36 holes on Wednesday and Thursday with the top 32 qualifying for matchplay from Friday through Sunday, when the Queen's Cup will be up for grabs.

It's the same format in the men's championship for the King's Cup.