'Veteran' Cannon eyes Lytham joy
ROBERT Cannon hopes to call the shots when he leads Ireland's young guns in search of rare success in the Lytham Trophy over three days of action which starts today.
At 31, the Laytown & Bettystown man is 10 years older than the rest of the seven-strong contingent hoping to end the bleak record by their countrymen in the amateur game's unofficial third Major.
Martin Sludds, then at the Island, was the last Irish winner in 1982. In recent times only Rory McIlroy, who finished joint third in 2006 and runner-up the following year, and Shane Lowry, third in '08 and again last season, have been in challenging positions.
Both, of course, have since turned professional, so the way is clear for other Irish players to make inroads at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Cannon, the South of Ireland Amateur Open champion, has experience on his side which could prove significant if the prevailing wind whips across the famous old links.
Dara Lernihan (23) one of five compatriots in the European Team Championship and Home Internationals line-ups last year, was the only Irish player to survive the cut in '09 apart from Lowry. The Castle man was in contention until two closing rounds of 77 left him tied 31, so he will be eager to atone for his slips.
Portstewart's Paul Cutler, the 21-year-old holder of the Willie Gill Order of Merit winner, will also be hoping for a better start after his opening eight-over-par 79 last time.
At 17, Greystones' Paul Dunne is one of three teenagers, all boy internationals, making debuts at Lytham, alongside Mourne's Reeve Whitson (18) and Rathmore's Alan Dunbar (17).
Luke Lennox (20), from Moyola Park, completes the squad.