| 15.4°C Dublin

Mullingar Scratch will be staged to empty galleries

Close

Michael Thompson. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Michael Thompson. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Getty Images

Michael Thompson. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The prestigious Mullingar Scratch Trophy will be played behind closed doors for the first time in its 58-year history from August 15-16 as amateur golf prepares to return without spectators due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

GUI officials confirmed yesterday that strict safety measures will be in place with players urged to arrive no more than 30 minutes before their tee times and use mobile phones as scorecards as championship golf resumes with the Irish Boys Amateur Open at Thurles Golf Club from August 10-12.

Best

"In the initial stages, our plan is to play behind closed doors," said the GUI's championships manager, Mark Wehrly. "There are categories of attendees that will be able to attend, but from the point of view of public health measures, it is for the best for everyone."

The 58th edition of the competition will be played along the same lines, and while a clash with the US Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes prevents Kinsale's John Murphy from defending his title, a quality field is expected for the first of four counting events for the 2020 Bridgestone Order of Merit.

"We're looking forward to welcoming all the players to the 58th consecutive staging of the Mullingar Scratch Trophy and very grateful to Sherry Fitzgerald Davitt & Davitt and Pinergy for coming on board as sponsors again this year," said John Plunkett, captain of Mullingar Golf Club.

Meanwhile, American Michael Thompson was yesterday counting the value of his victory at the 3M Open on Sunday, when he birdied two of the last three holes for a two-shot win. His first title in seven years secures an invite to the US Open as well as the $1,188,000 winner's cheque.

"I don't know what to say - this is so exciting. I just played such good golf and stayed within myself, believed in myself. I couldn't have asked for anything more," said the 35-year-old, who entered the week 151st in the FedEx Cup standings and rocketed up to 39th on the way to Tennessee for the World Golf Championships event.

Elsewhere, organisers of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship have postponed the event until next year in order not to undermine efforts of the Scottish government in tackling coronavirus.

Irish Independent