Murray leads the line for GUI's Nations assault
IRISH Close champion Pat Murray spearheads the GUI (Golfing Union of Ireland) team's challenge in the European Nations Championship, which starts today in Sotogrande, Spain.
Murray is accompanied by Paul Cutler from Portstewart, Alan Dunbar (Rathmore) and Castle's Dara Lernihan. Cutler will play for Europe against Asia-Pacific in the Bonnallack Trophy match in India next month, so he is set for some serious globe-trotting.
This event -- which has been contested over many years in different guises, including the Sherry Cup, the Grey Goose Cup and the Sotogrande Cup -- always heralds the competitive start to the European season. It's an early chance for Irish players to impr-ess in a year which ends with the World Amateur Team champion-ship in Argentina next October.
The men's event runs concurrently with the women's Nations Cup, but the ILGU have not sent a team. Defending men's holders are England, who include Tom Lewis and Walker Cup players Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Haines and Chris Paisley.
This is a 72-hole event with the best three cards counting each day for the team award. An individual championship is also included.
Meanwhile, at Royal Dublin last Sunday, five handicap JP Kelly (Naas) won the Hilary Society outing with 74 net, beating Mark Murnane on the back nine. Stephen Webster (Castle) won the gross prize with 77, and Gary Cullen took the Professional's prize with 76.
Cullen now heads the race for the Gold Medal. The next outing is on March 28 at Baltray.