Cork golf: James Sugrue left frustrated as he'll miss out on Amatuer title defence

Cork golf: James Sugrue left frustrated as he'll miss out on Amatuer title defence
James Sugrue of Ireland reacts after a missed putt on the 12th green during Day One of the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush last summer. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

JAMES Sugrue will miss out on the opportunity to defend his Amateur Championship title later this month, following travel guidelines issued by the GUI.

This no doubt adds to the frustration for the Mallow man who has now missed out on five big events in 2020. 

The revised 2020 golf schedule saw the amateur deferred from its usual date in June to late August. Sugrue had planned to defend his title in Royal Birkdale, the course where Jimmy Bruen won his Amateur title in 1945.

The decision to withdraw came on the back of GUI guidelines that advised Irish golfers not to travel to England in line with the public health advice issued by the government. 

There were 13 Irish golfers entered for the competition which starts with a 36 strokeplay qualifier on August 25. Several of those golfers, including Sugrue, had also entered the Brabazon Trophy, the English Strokeplay Championship which takes place a week earlier in Sherwood Forest.

The reigning Amateur champion had also entered the Brabazon which would have been a great warmup for the US Open. The Mallow man was familiar with the course having played there previously and was looking forward to the return of top-class tournament golf. 

Sugrue will now continue with his practice and training plans in Cork as he prepares for the US Open in Winged Foot in September. This will be Sugrue’s second major having played in the 2019 Open in Portrush last year. 

He also has the rescheduled Masters to look forward to in November 2020 should have been an exciting year for Sugrue, a trip to the Masters in April should have been followed by the US Open in June. 

Invites to the Arnold Palmer in Bay Hill and the Jack Nicklaus hosted Memorial in Ohio were also missed. His plans to turn pro in the Summer were also deferred as he waited for the opportunity to compete in the two golf Majors.

It does mean that Sugrue and a strong field of Irish internationals will now be available for the Munster Strokeplay in Cork Golf Club at the beginning of September. Quarantine rules would have prevented anyone playing in the Amateur Championship from entering the Cork event. 

The clear advice from GUI on travel now means that it’s unlikely that any Irish golfers will now compete in Birkdale or Sherwood Forest. 

While the guidance applies to golfers living in the Republic of Ireland, golfers from Northern Ireland will be required to observe the 14-day quarantine period before that can play in any events Ireland following travel to countries outside the Government Green List. 

The GUI also confirmed that they have withdrawn from the European Young Masters, the European Seniors, and the European Amateur Team Championship.

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