With two wins under his belt already in 2016, Jack Hume is the clear favourite to add the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship this week.
Hume, who is chasing a maiden success at Royal Dublin, has climbed to number 10 in the world this year on the back of his victories at the South African Stroke Play and the European Nations Cup.
“It’s a great event, especially being from Ireland, you want to win your national open,” he said.
The 22-year-old Naas star has unfinished business after missing out on a play-off by one shot.
“I don’t feel like I’m owed anything,” said Hume when asked about his near-miss in 2013.
“It’s just golf isn’t it? Sometimes that happens. Hopefully a good performance this week and I can go a couple of steps further.”
Hume’s record at Royal Dublin includes a top-six finish in 2014. Last year, he defied a tempest to card a miraculous 70 in round two.
It’s the kind of memory that he will draw strength from, especially when the wind whips across the Dollymount links.
“That was a super round, I’d take that round any day,” said Hume, who was practicing in the sunshine on Wednesday.
And while dry, calm conditions are forecast for the opening two rounds, rain is expected over the weekend.
“It’s a long week ahead so you just have to be really patient out here,” said Hume.
“You’re not going to get four rounds around here in good weather so you just have to try and stay patient and limit the damage when you’re in trouble.”
While Hume is the home favourite, in-form players like Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore) and Jonathan Yates (Naas) can mount a serious challenge.
East of Ireland champion at Co Louth in 2014, Campbell has been in a rich vein of form this season.
After progressing to the last 16 of the Spanish Amateur, he made it as far as the semi-finals at the West of Ireland.
The 29-year-old picked up his first win of the season at the Lee Valley Scratch Cup on 17 April. Campbell was tied for 15th at last year’s Irish Amateur and enjoyed a top-10 finish in 2013.
Of the 77 overseas players in the field, world number 23 Bradley Moore from England is the biggest threat while Scotland’s Jamie Savage, the winner here in 2014, comes into the championship on the back of a top-four finish at the Lytham Trophy.
And as an added incentive, the winner of this year’s Irish Amateur Open will receive a place in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at The K Club.
The opening round gets underway at 7am.
and after a 54-hole cut on Saturday, the top 50 and ties will progress to Sunday’s final round.