Cork Golf Scratch Cup changes for 2023

Niall O'Shea explains all the details golfers need to know ahead of the new year
Cork Golf Scratch Cup changes for 2023

John Murphy during the Rolex Callenge Tour Grand Final at Alcanada Golf Club in Mallorca. Picture: Niall O'Shea

GOLF IRELAND recently announced their 2023 championship calendar and the New Year looks to have a few popular changes compared to the 2022 schedule. 

The Cork Scratch Cup will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and for next year the competition is taking on a new format. 

In a throwback to previous years, the competition will have a match-play phase similar to the original format. 

This year golfers will compete over a 36-hole qualifier with the top 16 qualifiers going forward for four rounds of matchplay golf. 

 It also has a new name, this year it will be called the Munster Amateur Open Championship. The event holds its traditional date over the May bank holiday weekend, but the new format for 2023, will mean that it has run over three days instead of 72 holes over two days.

There was more good news for Cork with the return of the Women’s Cork Scratch Cup which hasn’t been played for a few years. 

That will take place as the very first Golf Ireland Championship in the second weekend in March.

Golf Ireland’s flagship amateur open championships will once again take place on back-to-back weeks in May. 

This time the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open will be first up, being played once again at The Island Golf Club on 11-14 May. 

The following week Woodbrook will take centre stage for the Flogas Irish Women’s and Girls’ Amateur Open Championship, on 19-21 May.

Following a high-performance review, the AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close Championship will change from the traditional matchplay format and will now be played over 72 holes of stroke play. 

The AIG Irish Women’s Amateur Close Championship will be played over a streamlined format with two rounds of stroke play qualifying from which the top 16 players will advance to the championship match play rounds.

“The aim of the restructuring of our championships programme is to create a broader appeal for our events and to make them more attractive, living up to the commitments in our Strategic Plan to deliver a streamlined, inclusive and equitable calendar,” said Golf Ireland’s Championships Director Mark Wehrly. 

“The restructuring will also see us deliver our competitions in a smarter way, and add value and opportunities for our players, who are at the centre of everything we do.” 

Munster Stroke Play winner Peter O'Keeffe pictured with the Cork Scratch Cup which he retained Picture: Niall O'Shea
Munster Stroke Play winner Peter O'Keeffe pictured with the Cork Scratch Cup which he retained Picture: Niall O'Shea

The highlight of the year won’t be a Golf Ireland event, it will be the European Senior Men's and Women's Championships which will be hosted by Douglas in June.

There was more good news for the sport as it was confirmed that Get into Golf, the introductory programme run by Golf Ireland and delivered by clubs and PGA Professionals hit new highs this year. 

The eight-week programme was delivered in more than a third of clubs around Ireland in 2022, making it the biggest year to date for the introductory initiative.

The programme, which runs over eight consecutive weeks, includes lessons with a PGA Professional and on-course activities that allow participants to learn new skills, meet people of a similar ability and get to know current members of the club. 

Clubs receive advice and resources from their designated Club Development & Club Support Officer whilst all players who join the programme receive Golf Ireland merchandise to start them on their golfing journey.

If a participant goes on to join their respective club, their Golf Ireland affiliation fees are waived for the first year. 

Throughout 2022, 123 clubs hosted the programme, facilitating over 3,000 participants of which over 60% continued on into club membership.

Kinsale’s John Murphy had another tough week on tour, the 24-year-old yet again came up just short of the target to make the cost and play some weekend golf. 

Murphy has had a tough few weeks, since winning his European tour card he has missed three courts in a row in South Africa. 

 He has changed his schedule slightly and is now in Mauritius for the final DP World Tour event of 2022. 

Murphy is an action today with the hope of making a cost and banking a few euro going into his Christmas break. He will have plenty of opportunities in 2023 to build some ranking points. 

 After the two high-profile Abu Dhabi and Dubai events in January, Murphy should gain access to all events on the calendar and should be able to pick his schedule from the 34 remaining events. 

Murphy covered plenty of ground in 2022, covering 39 events across a dozen countries. 

His €58,000 take from the Challenge Tour this year was hard earned from nearly 30 events, but Murphy will have the incentive of a much bigger prize fund at DP World Tour events in 2023.

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