NI Open Challenge to host pre-qualifying event

Gareth Shaw
Organisers of the Northern Ireland Open Challenge at Galgorm Castle have announced details of a pre-qualifying event for the province’s showpiece professional tournament in 2013, presented by Clannah and Xjet.
An 18 hole strokeplay event will take place at the Ballymena venue on Monday, August 12th where the top five players will qualify for the £145,000 (€170,000) Challenge Tour event to take place at the same venue from August 29th-1st.
The pre-qualifier is open to all professionals and elite amateurs with a scratch handicap or less. A sudden death play-off will decide the final qualifying place(s) and a maximum of three amateurs can qualify.
After the success of last year’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush, Galgorm Castle quickly realised the importance of continuing the run of professional tournaments in Northern Ireland.
“From a selfish point of view it’s very important to have such a great tournament here in Northern Ireland. It also gives home players the opportunity to get into other events in Europe,” explained Gareth Shaw, Galgorm Castle’s touring professional, who competes on the Challenge Tour.
“A number of overseas players will get invited to compete at Galgorm but in turn those invites are exchanged with events in other countries and that’s vital. It is a huge deal to have a tournament like this at home,” said Shaw, who believes the pre-qualifying event for both professionals and amateurs is a great opportunity for players not already exempt.
“A home event also allows friends, family and coaches to come along to watch during the week and obviously it’s a lot cheaper for us on travel costs too. On average I’ll budget €1000 (£840) a week when abroad but it won’t cost anything like that competing at Galgorm.”
Entry to the one-off pre-qualifier is £95 (€110) with the field restricted to 120 competitors. The entry closing date is Monday, July 29th and official practice to take place on Sunday, August 11th after 3pm. The event will be managed and administered by the PGA Irish Region.
There is a further opportunity to qualify for the NI Open Challenge as the winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Strokeplay will be invited to tee it up with the professionals.
The annual North of Ireland Amateur Open Strokeplay at Galgorm has quickly built up a reputation as one of the top events on the calendar and carries R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking Points.

Full entry details for both events can be obtained from www.galgormcastle.com or by contacting Galgorm Castle on +44 (28) 256 51151 or email golf@galgormcastle.com.

 

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