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Jimmy Bruen was among the best golfers to grace the game on these islands

Dermot Gilleece


To quote a much-loved if over-used Irish phrase, 'we shall not see his like again'

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Jimmy Bruen plays from the rough during the Amateur Golf Championship at Portrush

Jimmy Bruen plays from the rough during the Amateur Golf Championship at Portrush

ANL/Shutterstock

With his family

With his family

Jimmy Bruen

Jimmy Bruen

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Jimmy Bruen plays from the rough during the Amateur Golf Championship at Portrush

When the invitation came to compete in the 1938 Walker Cup trial at St Andrews, James Bruen Snr knew there was something he had to do. Permission would be required for time off school for his 17-year-old son.

Brother Pius, the principal of Presentation College Cork, was not impressed, declaring that he had never heard such nonsense. The persuasive powers of a formidable father, however, won the day and Jimmy Bruen duly took his place at the home of golf.

Revelling in the challenge, he completed a remarkable total of 282 for four rounds on the Old Course by Saturday, May 7, the eve of his 18th birthday. His place in the British and Irish team was assured from the opening round where his 68 equalled Bobby Jones' amateur course record, much to the delight of Henry Cotton, who was awestruck by the youngster's stunning skills.