The timesheet for the Ford Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy qualifiers has opened and a full entry is expected for the unique event. The top 64 qualifiers from the two day qualifier will go forward to the matchplay phase where the eventual winner will come through six rounds of matchplay golf. The six rounds are played over three days, giving the successful qualifiers a taste of tournament golf that’s normally reserved for scratch golfers. The competition has been running since 1970 and the trophy has some well-known local names including Donal O’Donovan, Kieran McCarthy, Mark Ford and Eoghan O’Connell. Muskerry winners include Niall Turner, Donal Healy, John O’Mahony and two-time winner Ger O’Shea. Last year’s winner was Adam McSweeney from Douglas. McSweeney was a member of the successful Douglas Junior Scratch Cup team but he’s now too low to enter the competition this year. Already there are over 150 golfers registered for the qualifiers which take place over two days. The qualifiers take place on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March, with the first matchplay round taking place on Good Friday, 25th March.
The month of April will be a bumper month for Category One golfers with four top quality events taking place on four consecutive weekends. All four events are qualifiers in the Munster Senior Order of Merit which will guarantee the top four a place in the Munster Senior Interprovincial team. The action starts in Muskerry on Saturday 9th when they hold their 36 hole senior scratch cup. The following weekend Lee Valley will hold the Mardyke Arena sponsored senior scratch cup. The 54 hole event now qualifies for World Amateur Golf Ranking points and the organisers are hoping to attract a large field with the hope that many golfers will travel from outside the province. The Douglas senior scratch cup takes place on Saturday 23rd April and again a large field of Cork and Munster golfers is expected. This year there’s no clash with the Castletroy scratch cup so that should boost the field. The final weekend of the month will see Cork Golf Club host the Munster Strokeplay Championship. This is the flagship 72 hole senior scratch cup in the province with the winner taking home the historic Cork Senior Scratch Cup. The tournament already has a large number of entries with former winner Pat Murray leading the entries. The Limerick player is currently playing off a handicap of +3.8. Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) is next on the list with his current handicap of +2.1. John Hickey leads the home club’s challenge, he’s currently playing off +1.7. Entries are limited to the lowest 75 golfers. All 75 will play the first 36 holes with the top 32 going forward to the second day for the final two rounds.