The 2023 Isle of Man Golf Championships get underway at Ramsey Golf Club this Saturday and Sunday.

The event is being played earlier this year because of the Island Games taking place in Guernsey in early July.

Taking advantage of the longer hours of daylight, the field has been increased to 99 players in the men’s event with the ballot being utilised as a result of it being oversubscribed, with a handicap index of 5.3 being required to make the field.

Therefore, Saturday sees the full entry playing 36-hole medal stroke play at Ramsey with the top 16 progressing to the match play stages which is the first priority for the players.

Usually there a couple of surprises, but the following players would be expected to progress:

Daryl Callister (Castletown), Liam Cowin (Castletown), Paul Lowey (Castletown), Jamie Arneil (Ramsey), Danny Foulis (Ramsey), Chris Kneen (Mount Murray), Neil Caine (Mount Murray), Mark Pugh (Peel), Keith Ward (Mount Murray), David W. Kinrade (Ramsey), Marcus Avery (Mount Murray), Kevin Moore (Douglas), Patrick Gandy (Port St Mary), Andrew Challenor (Castletown), Julian Sutton (Mount Murray) and defending champion Robert Noon (Mount Murray).

But your correspondent has more chance of winning the lottery than those exact 16 getting through with local experts Stuart Douglas and Charlie Garside also fancying their chances, particularly as the course will be playing short because of the long, dry spell and light winds being forecast for Saturday.

Sam Crawford lost in a play-off at the WA Kirkpatrick Trophy recently on the same course and will be expecting a strong showing again this time.

Predicted qualifying mark for those that think they know is 149 - let’s wait and see.

For those that qualify, then the first round of the match play will be Tuesday evening.

Women’s championship

The women start their championship on Sunday with 36-hole stroke play again at Ramsey and the top eight qualifying for the match play on Thursday night.

Favourites to qualify will be defending champion Kayleigh Dawson (Peel), Emma Noon(Douglas), Lynda Simpson (Castletown), Shirley Price (Port St Mary), Tilly Davies (Ramsey), Natasha Moore (Ramsey), Karen Faragher (Port St Mary) and last year’s Isle of Man Golf president Gail Corrin (Ramsey).

The latter has been undergoing intensive preparation abroad with some of the other players that entered so hopefully that pays off.

Kayleigh Dawson is a strong favourite to retain her crown as island champion but, with little choice between handicap indexes, then it is an open race to make the final.

If you can’t get up to watch the golf, then live scores will be recorded after the 6th and 12th holes and can be viewed at