Peru start for Irish amateur quartet; another eight set for South Africa next week
 Castletroy's Chloe Ryan

Castletroy's Chloe Ryan

The 2015 season was a superb campaign for Irish amateur golf. But with the likes of Walker Cup stars Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and Gary Hurley now in the professional ranks, a new band of potential heroes and heroines must fly the flag in 2016.

Four of our very best start the ball rolling in far off Peru this week with world amateur No 11 Olivia Mehaffey from Royal County Down Ladies and Castletroy's Chloe Ryan joined by Irish Amateur Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon from Masserene and international Colin Fairweather from Knock as Ireland’s representatives at the South American Amateur Championship in Lima from January 21-24.

The reigning Irish Girls, Welsh Ladies’ and Scottish Ladies Open Stroke Play Champion, Olivia represented GB&I at the Vagliano Trophy Matches at Malone Golf Club and was selected to represent Europe at the Junior Solheim Cup match at St. Leon-Rot in Germany.

Chloe came close on several occasions throughout 2015 as she finished in the top-10 at the Scottish Ladies Open Stroke Play, the top-five at the Welsh Women’s Open Stroke Play and reached the quarter-finals at the Spanish Ladies Amateur Championship.

However, she came closest to victory at Dun Laoghaire in the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship where she was overcome by 14 year old Isabella Holpfer from Austria after a playoff.

Both girls represented Ireland at the 2015 Home International matches and at the European Team Championships and will have the Curtis Cup matches in Dun Laoghaire firmly in sight.

Defending South American ladies champion Sofia Garcia (Paraguay), who overcame Maria Dunne (Skerries) by one shot last year will return to defend her title while the men’s defending champion, Scott Harvey will also take to the course in search of a second straight title.

As they continue their support of golf worldwide, the R&A is once again backing the event which this year sees a host of elite international amateurs do battle for the highly coveted title on Peru's west coast.

Participation in the 72 hole stroke play event for up to 30 overseas players is greatly facilitated by the R&A’s generous subsidy that assists with flights and entry fees.

The South American Amateur Championship is organised by the Peruvian Golf Federation, supported by the R&A, the South American Golf Federation and Lima Golf Club. The Championship provides points for the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and has the backing of the R&A.

Mehaffey and Ryan are part of a nine-strong Irish entry for the 86th Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Championship at Montado next week alongside Jessica Ross, Maria Dunne, Paula Grant, Sinead Sexton, Mary Doyle and Mairead Martin while Rachel Thompson is a reserve.

As for the men heading to Peru, Fairweather was superb all last year, reaching the final of the "South" at Lahinch, where he fell to Tullamore's Stuart Grehan but earned an international debut shortly afterwards, helping Ireland win the Home Internationals at Royal Portrush.

McLarnon won the Irish Amateur Close title in superb style at Tramore and will be a player to watch this year as he grows in confidence and pushes for his place in the Irish team.

The GUI is also sending an eight-man squad to South Africa next week for a two-week winter coaching trip, which will include the Gauteng North Amateur Stroke Play (28-30 January) at Irene and the South African Stroke Play (2-5 February) at Blue Valley.

The squad is lead by Naas' Walker Cup winner Jack Hume, West of Ireland champion Dermot McElroy from Ballymena and another six members of Ireland’s winning team from the Home Internationals — Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell, Intervarsity champion Alex Gleeson (Castle/UCD) reigning North of Ireland champion John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Hermitage teenager Rowan Lester, Robin Dawson (Tramore) and South and east of Ireland champion Stuart Grehan.

They will be accompanied by Irish captain Tony Goode and the GUI national coach Neil Manchip.

GUI SQUAD FOR SOUTH AFRICA: Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Tramore/MU), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Alex Gleeson (Castle/UCD), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore/MU), Jack Hume (Naas), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), Dermot McElroy (Ballymena)

South American Amateur, 

Ladies Tee Times - Day 1 – 21 Jan ‘16

1st Tee - 8.40

Chloe Ryan (Castletroy)
Micaela Farah (Peru)
Silvia M. Garces (Columbia)

10th Tee – 8.45
Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL)
Anna Backman (Finland)
Regina Plasencia (Mexico)

Day 2 – 22 Jan ‘16

10th Tee – 13.15

Chloe Ryan (Castletroy)
Micaela Farah (Peru)
Silvia M. Garces (Columbia)

1st Tee – 13.20

Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL)
Anna Backman (Finland)
Regina Plasencia (Mexico)

Men’s Tee Times - Day 1 – 21 Jan ‘16

10th Tee – 11.55

Rafael Miranda (Ecuador)
Andres Gallegos (Argentina)
Tiarnan McLarnon (Masserene)

1st Tee – 13.00

Matias Lezcano (Argentina)
Raul Pereda (Mexico)
Colin Fairweather (Knock)

Day 2 – 22 Jan ‘16

1st Tee – 07.50

Rafael Miranda (Ecuador)
Andres Gallegos (Argentina)
Tiarnan McLarnon (Masserene)

10th Tee – 08.55

Matias Lezcano (Argentina)
Raul Pereda (Mexico)
Colin Fairweather (Knock)