The inaugural West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship was held in August 1923 at County Sligo Golf Club. The first winner, from a field of 42 competitors was Larry Vernon who was home from South Africa on holidays. J Lindsay Crabbe, affectionately known as Bonzo, a member of Foxrock G.C. was the second winner in 1924, the year he also won the South of Ireland.
In earlier years, the championship was decided over 36 holes and was dominated by two of the greats of Irish Amateur golf – Joe Carr from Sutton and Co. Sligo’s own Cecil Ewing (left). Between them they contested in the final on 24 occasions, with Carr winning 12 titles to Ewing’s 10.
Let’s take a look at the course, County Sligo Golf Club
Today, the event is decided following 36 holes of qualifying strokeplay, with the top 64 players going head to head over six rounds of matchplay with the champion emerging after five days of golf.
All of Ireland’s international amateur golfers and practically all of our present day professionals have played in the West of Ireland Championship at County Sligo Golf Club.
Three times Major Champion Padraig Harrington won his first senior title at the West of Ireland in 1994, while Rory McIlroy was the youngest ever winner of the West in 2005 at the tender age of 15, and made it a double by winning again in 2006.
Check out the full course overview in Hd below.
In 2008 Shane Lowry claimed the coveted title. A year later he became only the third amateur to win a European Tour title when he captured the ‘3’ Irish Open at County Louth Golf Club in Baltray, turning pro shortly after.