Teenager Thomas Mulligan will aim to become only the third player to retain the Dundalk Scratch Cup, sponsored by Jeffers Sports Turf, when the 36-hole tournament takes place over the famed Blackrock links next Sunday, April 24.
Mulligan became the youngest ever winner of this prestigious competition last year when, as a 15-year-old, he won by three shots from his Co Louth clubmate Gerard Dunne and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty with the highlight being his impressive seven-under par 65 in the first round.
If he manages to come out on top again this year Mulligan will join the legendary Joe Carr and Declan Branigan as the only players to win the Dundalk title back to back with Carr achieving the feat in 1965 and 1966 while Branigan did it in 1972 and 1973.
He’ll face a strong challenge from Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell who has started the season in superb form. He reached the semi-finals of the West of Ireland Championship at Easter before winning the Grange Scratch Foursomes with Ryan Gribben last week and then capturing the Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup on Sunday.
Others to watch out for include Knock's Colin Fairweather, Sutton's Derek Downie and Portmarnock's James Fox, who won the title in 2009.
The field also includes two of the winners from last week’s Faldo Series Ireland Championship at Lough Erne Resort as Hollywood’s Rory Williamson, who won the U21 title, and Dundalk’s Eoin Murphy, who won the U16 event, set to tee it up on Sunday.
Murphy is part of a strong Dundalk contingent that includes another former winner, Aaron Grant, and Rafferty. Grant and Rafferty recently reached the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland at Rosses Point.
The Dundalk course, which hosted last year’s Irish PGA Championship, has undergone major redevelopment work over the past number of years with the most recent work being the addition of new strategically-placed fairway bunkers on several holes.
Previous winners of the Dundalk Scratch Cup include three times major champion Padraig Harrington and all are welcome to the 2015 event where there is every likelihood they will see one of golfing stars of the future in action.