West of Ireland Amateur Golf Championship
County Sligo is host to the first big amateur competition of the season, where no lesser figures than 2011 US Open and US PGA 2012 winner Rory McIlroy and three times Major winner Padraig Harrington cut their teeth as young up-and-coming players.
Harrington won his first senior title in 1994 at Rosses Point, while the new superstar of the game McIlroy was the youngest ever winner of the West in 2005 at the tender age of 15 and made it a double by holding onto the title the following year.
The first West was played in 1923 when L.P. Vernon defeated B.H. Cook 3/2 . In the early years the Championship was decided over 36 holes. Originally held in July, it now opens the Irish competitive calendar at Easter each year. The event open up with 36 holes of qualifying over two days on the Friday & Saturday with the top 64 players advancing to to the match play stages with the winner receiving the Gold Medal on Tuesday.