Saturday 3 December 2016

Arthurs relishes East test at happy hunting ground

Published 04/06/2016 | 02:30

Eoin Arthurs, will never forget the 2008 staging of the East of Ireland Championship at Baltray. Photo credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Eoin Arthurs, will never forget the 2008 staging of the East of Ireland Championship at Baltray. Photo credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Eoin Arthurs returns to County Louth Golf Club today, the scene of his career highlight as an amateur golfer.

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Arthurs, 32, married with two young children, will never forget the 2008 staging of the East of Ireland Championship at Baltray.

On that June Bank Holiday weekend, the Forrest Little golfer won the tournament by four shots and carved his own niche in the history of this GUI 'Major'.

Today he joins 155 other starters at Baltray hoping that the memories of past glory, and his comfort level on the renowned seaside links can give him a run for his entry fee.

Arthurs, Warrenpoint's Jim Carvill (2005), and Michael Sinclair of Knock (2003) are the only past winners in the field.

Of the last ten champions going back to 2006, seven turned pro, including Paul Dunne, the 2013 champion.

Holder Stuart Grehan and 2014 winner Colm Campbell are playing the St Andrews Links trophy this weekend, so the course and distance winners are in short supply. Arthurs doesn't get to compete at the top amateur level very often.

Work at Kinsealy Golf Centre in Portmarnock, and family life with wife Finola, son Evan (21 months) and 10-week-old daughter Jodie keeps him busy, but he relishes the prospect of playing the East.

"Course management was the key for me in 2008," he said. "The course played hard and bouncy, and with the weather we've had and the wind, I'd expect it to be like that this weekend.

"Back then I kept playing three-irons off tees and hit low fades, and just tried to keep out of trouble.

"The low fade was my stock shot and it seemed to work well under pressure."

Arthurs will play alongside local hope Thomas Mulligan, and Eanna Griffin of Waterford.

A Baltray member has not won the East since Finbarr Ronan in 1985, and Mulligan, 17, appreciates the scale of the challenge.

"It's one of the tougher tracks you'll play. Around the greens it's quite tricky," he said.

Irish Independent

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