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This was the first of four tournament victories for Baker last season as he went on to win the season-long MCB Road to Mauritius title and the John Jacobs Trophy. He would shoot a course-record 63 on the Saturday at Seapoint, a record which still stands.

“That was the beginning of a really good 12 months, so that gave me a lot of confidence.
And my wife Helen, on the, on the bag caddying, which is brilliant. I’d always wanted to win in Ireland, it ticks a lot of boxes. So, it was something really got the season started and you know, it kicked on from there.

“I think it’s mainly confidence, I’d not won for a couple of years. I think something like that maybe relieves the pressure a little bit. I had gone close a few times, so to get one out of the way relatively early in the season gave me the confidence to go forward.

“I played well and putted well, but I remember coming up the 18th and looked at the scoreboard and it had me one better than I thought it was! I was obviously in the zone or whatever you want to call that, but then I had to check my card over because I thought I was one shot worse off! When you get into that zone when you’re playing so well and you’re just going on, it’s like you get into a bit of a different space, a different zone, so to speak. It was a great round and something I really enjoyed!”

He arrived in style at the County Louth venue on Tuesday to deliver the new look trophy for the newly named OFX Irish Legends and was greeted by Marty Carr, the CEO of Carr Golf, who helped lead a group of investors to rescue the golf club almost three years ago.

Baker has already notched up an early season victory in 2024, taking the title at the Barbados Legends hosted by Ian Woosnam at the beginning of May.

Now he’s focussed on the feelgood factor on his return to County Louth: “I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now and obviously to come back to Seapoint, it’s a lovely links course which I love – I really enjoy links golf, so I’m really happy to be here.

“It just gives you a lift coming back to Ireland to play golf, it’s just wonderful. I’ve been very fortunate to play here and all over Ireland. It’s always the same wherever you go – the people are nice and very supportive. They know the golf well and it’s always great to come back. We play some great courses and it’s something to look forward to every year.”

As for the test presented this week, Baker is keen on the tactical change in the season of moving onto a true links course: “I think it’s a challenge for certainly a different test on links courses. It can change by the hour and change very quickly depending on the wind, and it’s always windy here, I enjoy playing in the wind.

“There are different shots you’ve got to play, you’ve got to think about it, so it’s always challenging.

“You just need to use your imagination and try to take on the golf course. Sometimes it’s not fair, you know, but you must deal with that as well.

“I have not too many opportunities to defend anything in my career so obviously, it’s nice to defend here.”

Baker will be one of the key names to watch out for when the OFX Irish Legends gets underway on Thursday 20th June. The field also features four Major champions, including Angel Cabrera who won the Paul Lawrie Match Play presented by Petsure at Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire last weekend.

Ahead of the tournament days, the Luxe Scot Celebrity Pro-Am takes place on Weds 19th June at the Louth venue, with stars taking part including: Brian McFadden, Danny O’Carroll, Jimmy Anderson, Jimmy Nesbitt, Joe Canning, Keith Duffy, Ken Doherty, Kevin Moran, Niall Quinn, Packie Bonner and Megan Campbell.

 

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