Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

McGee reflects on memorable trophy triumph ahead of Monaghan Irish Challenge bid

September 23, 2018

Ruaidhri McGee is presented with the Christy O’Connor Junior Memorial Trophy for leading Irish player by Kate Harrison (Resort Manager, Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort)
(Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

Ruaidhri McGee will return to the Monaghan Irish Challenge as the reigning Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy champion, following his six under par total and share of 15th place last year.
The Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy is awarded to the highest placed Irishman at the Monaghan Irish Challenge and McGee claimed the honour with his tied-15th result in 2017.
The trophy, designed and made by Waterford Crystal, will be presented at the Monaghan Irish Challenge as the event makes its debut at Concra Wood Golf Club.
With a lasting memory from the 2017 event, the 27-year-old still feels privileged to have been awarded the trophy named after such an iconic figure.
“It was great to win it and I was delighted to be the top Irishman and claim the trophy from the week,” he said.

“Christy O’Connor Jnr was a massive influence and everyone coming through the ranks in Ireland looks up to him. He’s like an idol, so it was really great to win it, something that was truly a real honour.”

McGee will return to Concra Wood where he played in 2012 and 2013 during his time on the EuroPro Tour. Now, he heads back to Catleblayney following three top ten results from the last six months on the European Challenge Tour.
“I’ve played the Concra Wood course on the EuroPro Tour a few years back. It’s a good golf course and a good place. It’s really, really nice,” he said.
“I’d like to say I know a particular key to playing the course, but I think accuracy off the tee to help you find the best position on the fairway will stand you in good stead, as the greens are quite undulating, so you’ll need a good approach shot.
“It’s going to be nice playing on home soil. Hopefully a few people come and watch as well, and that would make for some great support.  I’ll have a few friends and family that come out, especially if I’m in contention on Sunday – that would be fun.”
Nigel O’Connor, son of the former Ryder Cup player and 1992 Dunhill British Masters champion, said: “Since its inception in 2016, we have been very proud to present the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy to the leading Irish player at the Irish Challenge.
“It is a fitting tribute to our father, who played on the European Tour for over 30 years. Christy was delighted when Mount Wolseley was chosen to host the event in 2015 and would be equally proud that Concra Wood will hold the event this year.
“In addition, having a trophy for the leading Irishman adds an extra dimension to the event. Both Dermot and Ruaidhri were fantastic recipients of the trophy, and we are sure this year will be no different. Here’s to a great week in Concra Wood.”

Spectator entry to the Monaghan Irish Challenge is FREE – to register for tickets click on the link below
https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/the-monaghan-irish-challenge-2018-at-concra-wood-tickets-44098682346?aff=erelexpmlt

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Head pro Conor promises testing times for Challenge Tour competitors at Concra Wood

September 12, 2018

The 10th at Concra Wood

European Challenge Tour players will be given a true Irish test when they tee it up at Concra Wood Golf Club for the Monaghan Irish Challenge, from October 4-7.
The fourth edition of the event heads to Castleblayney and Concra Wood Golf Club for the first time since it made its debut appearance on the Challenge Tour’s International Schedule in 2015.
The 7,258-yard course will test the players’ accuracy off the tee, especially in windy conditions, while bunkers and thick rough around the greens will mean danger if they miss the target.
Conor McKenna has been the Head Professional at Concra Wood since 2010 and has the inside track on how to negotiate the Christy O’Connor designed course
“For players tackling Concra Wood for the first time I encourage them to focus on accuracy off the tee,” said Conor.
“Club selection is vital to leave yourself with a good approach, but most greens are gettable with the right shot, depending on the wind.
“However, miss the greens and you will be punished by heavy rough and the bunkers – there are 72 of them located on the course.

“Wind plays a big part and if we get some during the week it will certainly provide the players with another test, especially on the final three holes.”

Since the start of the year, Concra Wood has created new facilities at the club and has completed some renovations and additions to the course.
“A new state of the art short game area has just been finished at the club,” added Conor.
“It’s likely to be busy during tournament week. If you miss any greens at Concra Wood, getting up and down can be tricky. We have also renovated our bunkers and added a new water hazard on the 18th. All the fairways have been treated and the greens are rolling true head of the tournament.”

Having held three successive EuroPro Tour events from 2012, Conor can’t wait until the Monaghan Irish Challenge gets underway at Concra Wood.
“To have the best rising stars from Europe and household names, as well as many top Irish players coming to play our course is something I’m very proud of,” he said.
“I know the players will enjoy the test we will offer, as well as the beautiful views all around the course, plus the hospitality at the club is renowned. We hope all the players and officials enjoy the Concra Wood experience.”

New short game area at Concra Wood

Countdown begins to Monaghan Irish Challenge at Concra Wood

September 4, 2018


Enterprising Monaghan and Monaghan County Council will help bring the Monaghan Irish Challenge to life at Concra Wood Golf Club in October.
The Monaghan Irish Challenge will be held at Concra Wood GC, Castleblayney for the first time since the event made its debut on the European Challenge Tour’s International Schedule in 2015 and will be backed by the community-based non-profit company and the county council.
Concra Wood GC has held EuroPro Tour events from 2012 to 2014 and now ventures into new territory with the European Challenge Tour as the host for the Monaghan Irish Challenge, taking place from October 4-7.
The tournament comes at a pivotal time in the Challenge Tour season with players fighting to retain cards while others try and force their way into the Grand Final at the end of October.
Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council, said: “Monaghan County Council are delighted to support such a great event that will not only showcase Concra Wood to a global audience but County Monaghan as a tourist destination.”
Seamus Mallon, Chairman of Concra Wood Golf Club, said: “This event will be a huge boost, not only to Concra Wood, but to all the guest houses, hotels, restaurants and ancillary outlets in Castleblayney and the surrounding area. I have no doubt that the Challenge Tour is choosing one of the best golf courses in Ireland to showcase the Challenge Tour at its best.”
Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said: “This is extremely exciting not only for Concra Wood Golf Club but for the whole county. It couldn’t be more fitting that we are marking this important milestone in 2018 – the year Concra Wood celebrates its tenth birthday.
“The government, through Sport Ireland, invests a significant sum in the Irish Challenge each year, guaranteeing starts for up to 35 homegrown Irish players. I am delighted to see State funding going to such a worthy cause both locally and nationally, as the golfing world watches Monaghan for four days in October.”

Brilliant McGeady retains Walled City Pro-Am title

August 27, 2018

Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort); Title Sponsor, Ciaran O’Neill, Bishop’s Gate Hotel; Defending champion and 2018 winner Michael McGeady; Derek Hussey, deputy mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council and Michael McCumiskey, PGA in Ireland.

Michael McGeady posted a brilliant second round 63 to retain the Bishop’s Gate Hotel Walled City Pro-Am title at City of Derry GC on Sunday.
McGeady began the second round of the 36-hole tournament trailing overnight leader Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) by a shot following round one at Foyle Golf Centre. Thornton carded a bogey-free 65 (-6) to edge ahead of McGeady and Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) after 18 holes.
McGeady came out firing on the final day, putting his local knowledge to good use, signing for a seven-birdie no bogey round to win by five shots.
“In the back of my mind I was trying to beat the number I won the event with last year which was 12 under but it was a difficult day. When I stood up on the first tee I was just expecting it to be a real battle,” said Michael.
“I had discovered something the day before in my swing that was helping me move through the ball better. I have to say I hit the ball fantastically well for two days. I hit 34 of 36 greens in regulation which was pretty decent in those conditions.
“I was hitting the ball where I was aiming and it was plain sailing from there. Once I was doing that it took the pressure off the rest of my game.”
Thornton finished alone in second on seven under while Mark O’Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre) came through the field with a second round 67 to finish in third on five under par.
Ciaran O’Neill, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, added: “Building on the success of last year’s event, we are keen to continue to attract premium sporting events such as the Walled City of Derry Pro Am tournament.
“This year I am delighted to be the title sponsor with support from Visit Derry, Total Golf, Nuprint, Partridge Peartree, Citroën JC Halliday & Sons and mintbet.com. We are also delighted to inspire budding young golfers as part of the wider community outreach programme, welcoming the stars of the next generation.”
Professional Brendan McCarroll and amateur partners Jimmy Foley, Kevin Hennessy and Ronan Curran won the team prize with a two-round total of 176.

Scotsman Hill finishes in style to collect NI Open title at Galgorm Castle

August 20, 2018

Scotland’s Calum Hill after winning the 2018 Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Ballymena (Photo: Peter Morrison/Presseye)

Scotsman Calum Hill claimed his maiden Challenge Tour title in some style on Sunday, carding a superb final round 64 to win the Galgorm Resort and Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.
“I came into the week trying to just rise up the rankings as much as I could and at the end of the season keep my card as this is just my fifth start on the Challenge Tour and I’m playing on invites,” said Hill.
“So to now have a category and have everything sorted is a bit of a joke – it’s absolutely brilliant isn’t it?”
The leading home player was Cormac Sharvin who carded a closing four under par 67 to share ninth on 14 under par, earning a cheque for €3,960. The Ardglass man also received the new Bridgestone trophy and a cheque for £250 by finishing as the best Irish player under-30.
It was by some way Cormac’s best result of what has been a frustrating season and sets him up for a strong end to 2018.
“If I was being critical I probably didn’t hit it close enough, but I hit a lot of greens and didn’t put myself under much stress. That was a pretty stress-free four under,” said the 25-year-old.
“The week is a great step forward for me. It shows me it was the right decision to take last week off. I’m a bit disappointed not to be further up the leaderboard but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. The golf course is really good. It keeps getting better every year we come back with it maturing. For me, it’s definitely one of the best parkland courses in the north.”

Hill started the day four shots behind overnight co-leaders Scott Henry and Victor Perez and made an early move up the leaderboard by driving the green on the 336-yard par four second before going on to hole the eagle putt. He dropped a shot at the par three fifth, but birdied the eighth as he reached the turn in two under 33.
He picked up the pace over the back nine, reeling off four birdies in eight holes before narrowly missing an eagle putt on the 18th but the resulting birdie got him to 19 under par overall and, after Henry dropped four shots over his closing three holes, it was Hill who was crowned champion.
“I can’t believe it,” he said.
“Down the stretch, I was hitting a few great shots and was holing a few great putts but I thought it would be for second or third place – not for the victory.

“I really narrowly missed a putt on 18 for eagle which was just hanging over the edge – I thought that would make it interesting as Scott was 22 under when I was going down 17 and I made a birdie to get to 18 under. I didn’t even think it would be close.

“It didn’t even cross my mind as I was playing 18. I hit two nice shots and just tried to give the putter a run, and thought it was a nice finish to a great nine holes.
“With the par five 18th to play I honestly thought Scott [Henry] had a chance of winning still, and I wasn’t thinking that I would be the champion.”
With the victory, Hill rises up 156 places on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah to 43rd position with 33,379 points. After sharing second place with Henry, Stuart Manley moves up to fourth place in the rankings with 95,649 points.
It was also a decent week for Jonathan Caldwell who finished tied for 13th on 12 under par and Dermot McElroy who was a shot further back in a tie for 16th on 11 under.
“It’s been a great week. My game is certainly starting to come around. I’ll take a lot of confidence from the week,” said Caldwell.
“I started working with Gareth (Maybin) about a month ago. I’m getting things ironed out and it’s starting to pay off.”

Henry and Perez grab third round lead at NI Open

August 19, 2018

Scott Henry
(Matt Mackey/Press Eye)

Scott Henry and Victor Perez shone brightest on another day of low scoring at Galgorm Castle to share the lead going into the final round of the Galgorm Resort and Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.
Scotland’s Henry carded eight birdies and a solitary bogey to tie the low round of the week with a 64 and set the clubhouse target at 16 under par.
Following his own sublime score of 64 on Friday, France’s Perez carried on his red-hot form by bagging seven birdies and dropping just one shot to sign for a 65 and join Henry at the top of the leaderboard.
Cormac Sharvin leads the home challenge but the Ardglass golfer lost ground on the leaders following a level par 71 that left him six shots back in a share of eighth.
“I just didn’t hit the ball as good as yesterday,” said the 25-year-old who had started Saturday’s round just one back.
“The front nine was fine. I had one bad shot on two and made a bogey but on the back nine I just felt like I was fighting my swing. I didn’t putt great on the back nine either and missed a few chances.

“I feel like I hung in there well. I holed a good six footer on the last for a birdie to get back to level. “That’s still only six back. If I go out and shoot nine,10 under tomorrow well who knows?”

Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell also posted a level par 71 and is tied for 15th on eight under alongside Dermot McElroy who made up some ground on the leaders courtesy of a four under 67.
“My main goal at the start of the week was to finish in the top five,” said McElroy.
“Two 67’s puts me back in it but I know I need to shoot seven or eight under tomorrow to get into the top five. I’m capable of doing that but I need to get the putter going early and keep that momentum going.”
With both Mark Flindt Haastrup and Stuart Manley just one shot back, leader Henry knows the competition will be fierce today. His last European Challenge Tour victory came at the 2012 Kazakhstan Open and admits another triumph this week would be special.
“It would mean a lot to win here as it feels like a home event,” he said.
“One of the juniors from the club, Jamie, has been on the bag for me this week. He was in the Pro-Am with me and he has been keeping me right since then. He plays off five and is an aspiring young golfer who is only 15 and has been making me feel like I need to set a good example!”

Cormac cruises into NI Open contention at Galgorm Castle

August 18, 2018

Cormac Sharvin
(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

A week away from the churn of tournament golf appears to have done wonders for Cormac Sharvin.
The Ardglass golfer fired a superb bogey-free six under par 65 to force his way into contention on day two of the Galgorm Resort and Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.
“I was struggling a bit over the last five weeks so I made a slightly ballsy decision to take the week off last week, so late in the year,” said the 25-year-old who is ranked 103rd in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings.
“I just wasn’t getting the most out of my game. So I got my team together, Paul Vaughan (Coach), Michael Welsh (swing coach) and Ed Coughlan (Performance coach), we got lots of really good work done.
“That gave me a little bit of confidence coming into this week as well. I felt really prepared for this week, mentally and swinging a lot better too. We got a good bit of work done on my swing, which had got a bit out of sync. It seems to have clicked and is working so far.”
Sharvin made a great start to his round with birdies at the first and second and he continued to press in some wet and windy conditions.
He added; “Six under is never bad on any course. Got off to a good start, hit a good shot into the first and holed across the slope. Had a two-putt birdie on two. Then pretty steady from there on in.

“I hit a couple of loose shots but kind of scrambled well. It wasn’t totally flawless out there, I managed myself very well around the golf course. Managed to birdie nine to go out in three under which was nice.

“I holed a tramliner across the green for birdie at 11. Then made a few pars, missed a few chances. Made a nice 15 footer downhill for birdie on 16. Hit a really nice second shot into 17 and managed to hole that as well.
“It was pretty miserable out there at times, there were lots of squally showers. The wind was switching around and I got fooled a couple of times with the breeze, trying to work out if it was hurting or helping. Probably one of the nicest rounds I have had this year.”

Sharvin finished the day on 10 under par alongside Denmark’s Mark Flindt Hasstrup, Welshman Stuart Manley and Frenchman Victor Perez.
The 25-year-old Perez reached the turn in a blistering seven under par 28 and admitted that he briefly considered the possibility of breaking 60 before reality set in on the back nine.
“You have to realise that what I did on the front nine was not normal,” he said.
“It’s one of those things that happens every once in a while. You take as much as you can but sadly you know that at some stage, your game will level out.

“After my birdie at 10 – I definitely thought I was in the mix for a 59 but it is something you can’t think about. You’ve just got to go one shot at a time. I was just trying to do as well as I could and had looks at 11 and 13 but couldn’t convert them.”

Welshman Manley, joint leader overnight, lost ground on South Korea’s Minkyu Kim who finished the day on 11-under-par.
“Today my putting was really, really good. My long game was okay but it was my short game that was the difference today,” said Kim who became the youngest player to win on the Challenge Tour following his victory in the D+D REAL Czech Challenge in May.
“I holed a 40-foot putt on the 16th which was my best moment from today. I nearly ruined my score on the par three fifth where I hit such a solid three iron that it went over the green – then I hit a bad approach and I three-putted.
“I went on to finish with an eagle and because of that, I am feeling very positive about tomorrow.
“I have been in this position before so I feel confident. I have won once this year already and I think that experience will help me over the weekend.”
The cut fell at level par with tournament ambassador Michael Hoey and defending champion, Robin Sciot-Siegrist amongst those to miss out.

Manley and Kim lead day one at NI Open

August 17, 2018

Stuart Manley
(Getty Images)

The unique appeal of the Challenge Tour was perfectly illustrated by the two names topping the leaderboard at the close of play on day one of the Galgorm Resort and Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.
Success on this tour is a stepping stone, a bridge to potential riches on the European Tour and so it brings together hungry young competitors searching for their first taste of the big time and more established players hoping to return to the summit.
As the sun set on day one, 17-year-old Minkyu Kim from South Korea and 39-year-old Welsh journeyman, Stuart Manley, led the way on seven under par.
Behind them on six under par was 41-year-old Richard Finch, a winner of the Irish Open in 2008, Marcus Armitage (31) who played on the European Tour in 2017 and 26-year-old Denmark’s Victor Gebhard Østerby.
They would all love to win this week at Galgorm Castle but the ultimate aim is not to be back here playing next season and to do so automatically, they need to finish in the top 15 of the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings.
Manley, who sits in sixth place in the rankings, was in superb form carding seven birdies in a bogey-free round of 64. Following one victory, two top-five finishes and two further top-ten results this season, Manley knows he is well-placed to regain his European Tour playing rights – something another good result could all but guarantee this week.
“It would be great to get the job done this week,” he said.
“It has been a very successful and consistent season so far so it would be a great to get a couple more big finishes and secure my card for next year.
“I putted very well, kept the ball in play and I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to play today so I’m very happy with my start.

“I have been struggling with my neck since Saturday but credit to the European Tour’s physio team as without them I wouldn’t have been able to play for sure.”

Also impressing on his first visit to Northern Ireland was Kim. The 17-year-old, who became the youngest player to win on the Challenge Tour following his victory in the D+D REAL Czech Challenge in May, carded one eagle, six birdies and one bogey and was delighted to return to form following a difficult stretch.
“I played very well today,” said Kim who is currently 34th in the rankings.
“I putted very well and I was perfect off of the tee until the last two holes where on 17 and 18 I missed the fairway by a long way, but I still managed to come away with a bogey and a par. It wasn’t a great finish but overall I am very happy with my performance today.
“After winning in the Czech Republic I have struggled to find form, but this week I am feeling really focused and so far that has shown in my play.”
Cormac Sharvin fired a four under par 67 to lead the Irish challenge.
“It was a great start, I see there are a few good scores up there but it wasn’t playing easy by any stretch of the imagination. At times the wind got up and there were little bits of rain so I’m happy with four-under,” said the 25-year-old who started his round at the 10th.
“I missed a few chances but I held it together towards the end and I had a couple of good saves on five and six, holed a nice one on seven and then hit it close at the last.”

Sciot-Siegrist hoping to buck trend at Galgorm Castle

August 16, 2018

Robin Sciot-Siegrist winner of the 2017 NI Open

There’s never been a successful defence of the NI Open but Robin Sciot-Siegrist would love to buck the trend this week at Galgorm Castle.
The Frenchman excelled on Shootout Sunday last year, winning five rounds of matchplay contests before defeating Italy’s Alessandro Tadini by two strokes in the final to seal victory.
This year, the event returns to a 72-hole strokeplay format, and the 24-year-old, who has an Irish mother, is hoping that he can return to winning ways in Northern Ireland.
“I have really great memories from last year,” he said.
“It was the site of my first professional victory, the crowds were huge, the course is great so when I arrived here all those memories came flooding back to me.
“I don’t know if I am biased because I won but I thought the format was really good – I like the change from the normal 72-hole format – and I thought it might come back this year but I am still very positive about the week.
“It’s a great course – I really, really like it here. The greens are tough and you have to hit a good tee shot if you want to get close to the flags because the rough is thick. Hopefully I can get something going here again.”
The Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf comes at a key point in the season as players jostle for position in the final push on the Road to Al Khaimah standings.
The goal is simple, make it into the top 15 of the standings to secure playing rights on the main European Tour for next season. Michael Hoey has enjoyed a return to form in recent months and at, 26th in the standings, is the highest ranked Irish player. A strong week at Galgorm would go some way to helping the cause for the NI Open Tournament Ambassador.
“We are at that point in the season where guys focus on the Challenge Tour now rather than mix playing both tours in the hope of securing one of the 15 cards available,” said Hoey who will tee off today alongside Sciot-Siegrist and Oliver Wilson at 1.30pm.
“We have a strong field and the public will be guaranteed some great golf and the chance to see some new faces.”
There are 22 Irish players in action at Galgorm. Local interest will be satisfied by Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy or Chris Selfridge, who makes a welcome return to action on an invite after a long layoff with injury.
Other Irish hopefuls include the likes of Ruaidhri McGee, Gavin Moynihan, Niall Kearney, Gary Hurley and Cormac Sharvin.
“I’m not being biased, but it’s by far one of the best events of the year,” said Sharvin, who made it into Shootout Sunday last year.
“I know a lot of the guys on Challenge Tour enjoy the way the course is set up and obviously they enjoy the Irish hospitality.
“There is always great support and that’s another reason to look forward to Galgorm. Hopefully we can have an Irish winner this year.”

NI Open looks to the future unveiling 2019 plans for joint men’s and ladies’ event

August 15, 2018

Modest! Golf Director Mark McDonnell (l) with Gary Henry, Managing Director at Galgorm Castle, and NI Open Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey

They’ve never been afraid of innovation at Galgorm Castle.
On Tuesday, organisers of the NI Open unveiled plans for an ambitious new departure, one that will bring a Challenge Tour event and a Ladies European Tour event together under one banner from 2019 onwards.
Last year, the tournament introduced a match-play element as a one-off concept and from next year there will be two NI Open champions.
Plans at this stage will see Massereene Golf Club in Antrim used as the second host course alongside the NI Open’s perennial home at Galgorm Castle in Ballymena. There will be two 72-hole strokeplay events with both venues used before play concludes for both events at Galgorm Castle.
These are full-field events, 156 men and 140+ women and crucially the winners will walk away with the same prize money.
“You can just picture the scene on the final day, watching the last groups of the ladies coming through battling it out for their title and then the men battling out for their title,” said Gary Henry, NI Open Event Director.
“We all are aware that you have to excite sponsors and it is reasonable to say that some of the potential sponsors we have been talking to are a lot more excited about this concept than a normal men-only event.

“The NI Open is currently one Northern Ireland’s core international tourism events. This next stage takes the event onto a global level and that is a fundamental change. That is going to be achieved by having the likes of Leona Maguire who is performing on the world stage coming here to compete along with the exciting talent and established stars on the Challenge Tour.”

Modest! Golf Director Niall Horan and their management company have been involved with the NI Open for several years and their continued support has unquestionably raised the profile and also helped their vision of trying to “develop the next generation of players”.
Modest! Golf is a boutique golf management company with a select number of players on the books, including Lisa and Leona Maguire, who joined the Modest! stable in 2018.
“From our point of view, we have always challenged Gary and the team here. Asking them how they can make the NI Open bigger and better,” said Modest! Golf director, Mark McDonnell.
“Last year’s Shoot-out Sunday was always going to be a one-off, it was a way to shake things up. We can’t think of a better time to launch this new vision for the NI Open. It is an opportunity to shine a light on some highly talented young golfers, like the Maguire girls and give them a stage to showcase what they can do.”

The idea of bringing ladies and men’s tournaments together is not a unique concept. The joint format was introduced at the Vic Open in Australia and has evolved into one of the country’s most high profile professional events while last week, tournament ambassador Michael Hoey, played in the European Team Golf Championships at Gleneagles.
It will, however, signal the long-overdue return of a Ladies Pro event to Ireland for the first time since 2012 when Scotland’s Catriona Matthew won the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle in County Meath, venue for the 2011 Solheim Cup.
Lisa Maguire, who played in Wednesday’s NI Open Pro-Am, believes the announcement could not come at a better time.
“Irish Ladies golf is very strong just now. There’s a good group with Olivia (Mehaffey), Paula (Grant), Steph (Meadow) is over in the States too and Leona and myself,” said the 23-year-old.

“A new Irish Ladies event will play an important role in helping players progress. It’s a long time back to 2012 when the last Ladies Irish Open was played at Killeen Castle, and last time in Northern Ireland was Hilton Templepatrick in 2007. That was Leona’s and my first LET event.

“I think the more events we can get on the LET the better and players always love to come and play great venues, which Galgorm is. There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of buzz already about the plans for 2019.”