Tramore awaits Irish Close — Grehan bidding for rare hat-trick this year

Stuart Grehan. Picture: Pat Cashman

Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon is enjoying considerable professional success off the course as Shane Lowry’s strength and conditioning coach.

But he’s also feeling good about his chance of racking up a third Championship success following his wins in the 2009 South of Ireland and 2013 Irish Amateur Open.

This week he’ll have a chance to show that he’s still a force when he tees it up in the AIG sponsored Irish Amateur Close Championship at Tramore when 36-hole strokeplay qualifying begins on Tuesday.

The Close was last held in Tramore in 2003 when Galway’s Mark O’Sullivan beat David Carroll of Grange by one hole. 

Previous to that it was Kilkenny’s Eddie Power, then playing out of the host club, who beat a youngster from County Louth by the name of JP Fitzgerald by two holes in 1987.

Fitzgerald, as you may be aware, went on to become a successful tour caddie for the likes of Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke before progressing to Rory McIlroy in 2007. The rest, as they say, is history.

History too beckons for 50-year old Power, who will be bidding for a fourth ‘Close’ that would put him third in the all-time winners list with Lionel Munn.

There's also a chance that Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan, the East and South of Ireland winner can claim a third “major” win this year would match Darren Clarke’s triple of East-South-Close of 1990 or Garyh McGimpsey's Trple win in 1988 of West/East-Close

Declan Branigan also won the triple of East, West and Irish Close in 1981.

Clarke, of course, also win the Spanish Amateur in 1990 but Grehan can claim the Home Internationals.

Tuesday and Wednesday tee times