Posts Tagged ‘Galgorm Castle’

Ronan Mullarney secures place in NI Open field

July 17, 2018

Galway’s Ronan Mullarney receiving the Northern Ireland Amateur Open trophy from Peter Daly, Captain Galgorm Castle, and Valerie Penney from Specsavers Ballymena

On a day of low scoring, Ronan Mullarney came out on top to win the 2018 Modest! Golf Northern Ireland Amateur Open, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena and Cleveland Srixon, at Galgorm Castle and with it booked his place in next month’s NI Open.
The Galway international was in sensational form, carding rounds of 67, 66 for a nine-under-par total 133 to win by three from Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell (68, 68) in second. Local favourite and Galgorm Castle member Michael Reid took third with rounds of 70, 67.
Reid’s better afternoon card edged out Ardglass’ Adam Mulhall (68,69), who also finished on four-under 137. Mulhall continued his great form of late just days after reaching the semi-final of the North of Ireland at Royal Portrush.
Mullarney hit the front after his opening 67 and went on to shoot the best score of the afternoon too by going one better for his 66 to win comfortably.
The winning strategy was simple. “Keep it out of the water, the rough, the trees and hole a few putts,” said the plus four handicapper afterwards.
Having started on the 10th, Mullarney covered the back nine in four-under 31 in the final round before picking up a sixth birdie of the afternoon at the par five ninth, his final hole.
Mullarney was part of the International Palmer Cup side that lost to the United States at Evian Resort, France two weeks ago and is now looking forward to teeing it up with the professionals at Galgorm Castle when the NI Open takes place from August 16-19.

“The invite to the NI Open was the main reason for playing here today. I really wanted to play in a professional event this year and I’m delighted to secure my place in the NI Open.”

The Paddy Harrington scholar at Maynooth University will now seek out Jordan Hood, fellow Maynooth scholar and Galgorm Castle member, for some extra practice at the Ballymena venue in the coming weeks.
“I might have to get a few more games here with Jordan. The course really suited my eye and I knew yesterday that I liked the place. It’s not a million miles from my home course,” added the winner, who is busy combining golf with his studies.
“I’ll play the South (of Ireland) and the (Irish) Close and some club golf, Senior Cup and Barton Shield between now and the NI Open. I actually have a college assignment to do to as well. I’m doing a Masters in Strategy and Innovation. It’s going ok, the golf is going better than the studies.”
Entry to the NI Open is free, simply register online at http://www.niopen.golf.

Leading scores from the 2018 Northern Ireland Amateur Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Ballymena
Full results
133 Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 67, 66)
136 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) 68, 68)
137 Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle) 70, 67, Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) 68, 69
141 Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) 72, 69
142 Jonathan Gourley (Shandon Park) 71, 71
143 Adam Barr (Ballymena) 71, 72, Max Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 71, 72, Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) 69, 74
144 Marc Norton (Belvoir Park) 70, 74
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Padraig chasing down Fox at Ballyliffin

July 6, 2018

Ryan Fox of New Zealand

Padraig Harrington has rarely lacked for motivation but being told his pre-tournament odds had gone out to 60-1 might just have provided the extra spur he needs to contend this week at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“It’s not often there’s value in my game. The bookies in Ireland would make sure they cut you to a low price knowing that sentimentally people would back you,” said Harrington following a four under par 68 that left him just one shot back of the lead held by Ryan Fox.
“I was surprised, the bookies don’t normally get it wrong, but to put me out there at 66-1 on a links golf course was strange on their part, at home in my home country.
“My performances always go up when it comes to a links course. Maybe that says I’m even worse than I thought.”
The three-time major champion kick-started his round with a chip-in eagle at the par-five 17th, his eighth hole of the day and followed up with three more birdies on the front nine to make a significant statement of intent.
“I played really badly and maybe things were starting to get away from me and just to chip-in and get myself under par, I felt like I should have been under par at that stage. It’s always nice, you know, on a links golf course to be under par, have one in the bank, so you always feel like you can go forward from there. I love playing links golf and it’s nice to get out there and shoot a score.”
Harrington finished the opening round of a testing day at Ballyliffin in a group of six players just one shot behind the leader Kiwi Ryan Fox.
Fox appears remarkably at home in Ireland. The 31-year-old, son of All Black legend Grant, won a Challenge Tour event, the NI Open at Galgorm Castle in 2016 and contended in last year’s Irish Open at Portstewart.
“I drove it nice. I think I probably only hit five or six fairways, but missed them in the right places and hit a lot of good drives that just ran through fairways and gave myself a lot of chances,” said Fox.
Tournament host Rory McIlroy holed very little on his way to a two-under-par round of 70.
“It’s the best I have hit the ball in a long time,” said Rory.
“I put the ball in play, which I needed to do, and drove the ball very well. Iron play was good. I just struggled on the greens.

“It was either I hit good putts and just didn’t read them right, or sometimes it was maybe a reaction of putts I had hit previously on a couple holes earlier.

“It sort of just got into my head a little bit. I holed some decent putts. I hold a couple of good ones for par but I’m going to need to putt a little bit better over the next three days to have a chance.”
Graeme McDowell struggled with his ball striking early on in his round but he managed to hang in to post a competitive score of one under par.
“It was one of those days that could have got away, and I was happy to sort of keep it under control and post something half-decent,” he said.
However, his playing partner and defending champion, Jon Rahm, struggled to a two over par round of 74 that left him tied for 92nd.
The 25-year-old produced some stunning golf on his way to winning the title at Portstewart last year but found the going tougher around Ballyliffin.
The Spanish star, who is now ranked fifth in the world, appeared ill at ease for most of his round yesterday with back-to-back double bogeys not helping his mood as he struggled to a two-over par 74.
“He’s a hugely talented player, wonderful ball-striking ability but he just seemed a little irritated with himself this morning for whatever reason,” said playing partner Graeme McDowell.
“We all get that way sometimes, but he’s such a talented player, I expect him to be back firing on all cylinders tomorrow.
“He maybe had that ‘defending champion’ irritation going on, a little extra pressure, a little extra expectation on yourself.”

It’s Tom versus the Shot Clock on the European Tour

May 20, 2018

Tom McKibbin

Holywood GC’s rising star, Tom McKibbin, will make his European Tour debut at the innovative new Shot Clock Masters tournament at Diamond Country Club in Altzenbrugg, near Vienna, on June 7-10.
The 15-year-old from Newtownabbey has caught the attention of the golfing world with a string of international victories, most recently at the 2018 Junior Honda Classic (U18) and The Faldo Major Champions Invitational, both in the United States
The Irish boys international became one of the youngest players ever to tee it up on the European Challenge Tour in 2016, aged just 13 years and 222 days when he played in the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle.
Now, Tom will tee it up in the first event of its kind, one that will see every shot timed as part of the European Tour’s bid to combat slow play.
He said: “It is very exciting to play on the European Tour for the first time, and especially in the first ever tournament like this. Teeing it up at Diamond Country Club will be an amazing experience, but I’m also looking forward to seeing the shot clock technology and how the whole event works.

“I’m in favour of fast play and I consider myself to be a fast player so I think the idea behind the Shot Clock Masters could be great for the future of golf.

“I’m grateful to the European Tour and the promoters of the Shot Clock Masters for giving me this opportunity. It is my dream to play on the European Tour in the future and I can’t wait to experience the environment and take the chance to learn as much as I can from the players in Austria.”
Tom has experienced life on the European Tour in the past, playing alongside Rory McIlroy in the Pro-Am at the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, and is looking forward to making his tournament debut.

The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be the first tournament in professional golf to use a shot clock on every shot.
The European Tour experimented with a shot clock on one hole at the inaugural GolfSixes in 2017 – a move which proved popular with both players and fans.
In a marked difference to the GolfSixes model this tournament will embrace the Tour’s official timing policy (similar to policies used across the world of professional golf) over 72 holes, with an intent to showcase a European Tour event played at a more compelling pace.
In accordance with this official policy, each player in the field will have 50 seconds for a first to play approach shot (including par 3 tee shot), chip or putt and 40 seconds for a tee shot on a par 4 or par 5 or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.
Players will incur a one-shot penalty for each bad time incurred and these will be shown as a red card against their name on the leaderboard.
Each player will have the right to call two-time extensions during a round which will permit them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot.
In 2016 the European Tour pledged to speed up the game of golf, introducing a new pace of play policy which included monitoring penalties, handing referees additional powers to target slow players. This policy had an immediate effect, leading to a visible reduction in round times, and the additional development in Austria could have an even more dramatic impact.
It is hoped the move will cut round times by around 45 minutes, reducing three-ball timings to approximately four hours, and two-balls to around three hours 15 minutes.

Going low is a new challenge for Michael Hoey

March 25, 2018

Michael Hoey in action at Galgorm Castle


Michael Hoey finished tied for 18th in the opening event of the 2018 Challenge Tour season – the Barclays Kenya Open.
Now in his 16th year as a professional, he remains committed to the sport and engrossed in his job but the harsh realities facing professional golfers on the satellite tours are never far from his mind.

“I’m putting more into it now than I have done in years,” insists the 39-year-old who is fit and healthy after shaking off a lower back problem that hampered him last year.
“I still love the competition but professional golf is difficult and making money at it is the problem.
“The scoring is just so good now. Some weeks on tour the leaders are reaching 25 under which is incredible.”
After turning professional in 2002, Michael struggled to find his feet until finally becoming a fixture on the European Tour from 2009 to 2016.
He collected five wins in that period, the biggest of which was the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2011. He was often inconsistent but when he got into a winning position, he had an uncanny knack of getting the job done.
He dropped down on to the Challenge Tour last year and will once again be plying his trade alongside the young guns in 2018.
“I quite enjoyed most of 2017 but I didn’t enjoy the lack of money,” he added.
“I like the friendly atmosphere around the Challenge Tour. There’s less clutter, fewer managers, agents and reps around.
“You just get to the venue and play golf so it’s quite pure in that regard.

“But it is tough going. You work hard, play well in some events and finish 11th, 12th, 13th and you walk away with €3,000 or €4,000. That just about pays for your expenses and you’ve played pretty well.

“I actually had my lowest ever stroke average last year and I was quite consistent but I just didn’t go low enough when I needed to.”
Michael’s role as tournament ambassador with the NI Open at Galgorm Castle had given him an insight into the low-scoring mind-set on the Challenge Tour but the week-to-week aggressive on-course approach of the players has given him pause for thought.
He continued; “There are so many players around the same mark these days and that is why cuts are so high. You can sometimes have 30 people on the same score. When I started 10, 15 years ago you would have had eight to 10 people on the same score. The cuts are so deep now.
“The standard is just so good. Yes, the courses are pretty straightforward, but it is ridiculously low scoring. It seems that every day someone shots 10 under par so you have got to be able to putt but I guess it is the same for everyone in the field.
“You have to be dialled in with the short irons. Know exactly how far you hit them and then you have to be able to score. Driver accuracy isn’t as important as driver length.
“I have seen so many guys on Challenge Tour hit a really bad tee shot but still walk away with birdie. On the main tour, you will be punished more often.”

As a result, Michael has been working hard on his game, particularly his putting at home. He’s also been hitting the gym with one eye on extending his career.
“I spoke to some of the physio guys at the end of last year about what I needed to do to stay competitive in my late 30s,” added Michael.
“They encouraged me to lift some weights because you need to keep your testosterone levels up especially when you are over 30.”
While he feels that things are in a good place physically and technically, he admits there is still room for improvement in his approach to how he plays the game.
He added; “On a Thursday you have to go for it from the start and be aggressive. Even making the cut is a waste of time because the money is so top heavy. You have to change your thinking and go for it and that is difficult.
“I have always had an attitude about playing my way into a round and finding some rhythm, not taking shots on until you have strung a few pars together.

“Last year, there was only four weeks on tour when the winning total was less than 16 under. How can you possibly play your way into a round by stringing a few pars together? That doesn’t work now.

“I tend to agree with the theory about how growing up on tough links course at home doesn’t help you as a professional. It is a birdie festival now and one under par isn’t a good score anymore. The cut in Turkey was five under last year!”

A more extensive version of this article appeared in Irish Golf Magazine.

Horan and Modest! Golf return to back NI Open at Galgorm Castle

January 26, 2018

Robin Sciot-Siegrist winner of the 2017 NI Open along with Mark McDonnell and Niall Horan.

Niall Horan and Modest! Golf are back on board for this year’s Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle.
Modest! Golf and Horan return for a third consecutive year and record crowds are expected once more when the European Challenge Tour event takes place at the Ballymena venue from August 16-19.
Horan and fellow Modest! Golf Director Mark McDonnell are currently at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai supporting their Modest! Golf players, Scotland’s Connor Syme and England’s Jack Singh Brar.
“We are delighted to announce Modest! Golf’s return to the Northern Ireland Open for the third year. The event has grown every year and we look forward to linking up with Galgorm Castle and the Challenge Tour once again,” said Horan who played alongside Rory McIlroy in the Pro-Am at the Emirates on Wednesday.
Over 43,000 spectators came through the gates at Galgorm Castle in 2017 to witness the drama unfold before Robin Sciot-Siegrist from France was crowned champion in the Shootout Sunday format.
This year, organisers have returned to the traditional 72-hole strokeplay format, which ties in with the long-term vision for future stagings of the NI Open.
“Last year Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, challenged all the major stakeholders in golf to do their bit to introduce golf to new audiences,” explained McDonnell.
“We played our part in that by attracting the biggest ever crowd to a Challenge Tour event with the introduction of Shootout Sunday.

“Interest in the NI Open has never been higher and we are excited to return to the traditional four days strokeplay and look forward to welcoming new audiences to experience the best Challenge Tour event in the world.”

The NI Open continues to be a family-friendly event and 2018 will be no different with plenty of activities and attractions to take place away from the fairways. The GolfNow Junior NI Open proved a big hit last year and will showcase the junior talent for a second time when played over the six-hole course at the Galgorm Castle’s Fun Golf Area.
The 2018 NI Open holds another key summer date on the international schedule. It is also a hugely important event for the development of Ireland’s professionals starting out in their career and looking to make their mark in the game.
“For years the NI Open has provided Irish players much-needed playing opportunities,” explains Gary Henry, Managing Director Galgorm Castle.
“Irish professionals have the chance to compete on home soil against some of the best players in the world in one of the best events on the schedule. Just as important, this event alone opens so many doors to other events across Europe and beyond by way of reciprocal invites, which helps players put together a playing schedule for the season.”
The NI Open is an integral part of the work carried out by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) and the Team Ireland Golf scheme that provides grants and funding to players in the early stages of their professional career.
“This Challenge Tour event is so important to us as a business,” added Horan.

“Year on year, this tour develops the next generation of European Tour winners and Major champions and we can’t wait for the NI Open to play its part, both this year and in future years.

“We have lots of plans with Galgorm Castle to develop this event even further over the coming years.”
Tourism Ireland also plays a key role in the success of the NI Open, especially when promoting golf on the island of Ireland to an international audience.
Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland, said: “The Northern Ireland Open is a wonderful event, giving us an opportunity to showcase our world-class golf courses to a huge number of golfing enthusiasts across the world.
“There is tremendous interest in this event, as part of the European Challenge Tour series, and Tourism Ireland estimates that highlights of the event will be broadcast to approximately 540 million homes, via Sky Sports and their 26 international broadcast partners, and through digital media.
“The 2018 Northern Ireland Open will once again shine a spotlight on golf here, helping us to highlight our superb parkland courses, which complement the world-class links for which Northern Ireland is known around the world.”

(The NI Open continues to be free to enter for all the family. To get your tickets for the 2018 event, simply register online at niopen.golf).

NI Open – Robin flourishes in Sunday Shootout at Galgorm Castle

August 14, 2017

Robin Sciot-Siegrist winner of the 2017 NI Open

The fans were promised thrills and spills and the final day of the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf delivered in style.
Shoot-out Sunday at Galgorm Castle produced tension and excitement with a flurry of eagles, birdies, and a remarkable albatross from Portugal’s Ricardo Santos.
In the end, Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist survived five rounds of six-hole stroke play matches to lift the NI Open trophy.
The 23-year-old, in his first full season on the Challenge Tour, beat Italian Alessandro Tadini by two shots to collect the 28,888 euro first prize.
It’s great. It’s my first full year as a pro so I am so happy because I’ve been working really hard this winter and holding this trophy, I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just pure joy,” he said.
It’s unbelievable how many people are here this week – everything is full, the grandstands, it’s incredible how these crowds come out in Northern Ireland.”
Organisers and sponsors of this year’s event took something of a gamble by opting to ditch the traditional 72-hole stroke play format but it made for a highly entertaining final day, one that was embraced by the vast majority of the players.
Home hope, Cormac Sharvin, bowed out in the opening round, beaten by Santos but not surprisingly, Sciot-Siegrist was something of a convert.
The format is great. Six holes, you have to be really in it from the very beginning, you don’t have a chance to make any mistakes, and it’s great to change the format from what we usually play and I really enjoyed it,” he said.

I played something similar in La Cala in Spain and would like to see more of this type of format. I really like the match play style. I’ve played a lot of this type of golf and enjoy one on one, playing another guy instead of the course. I hope it will happen again in the future.”

Robin with Modest!Golf directors Mark McDonnell and Niall Horan.
Photos by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

After three rounds of strokeplay, the top 24 made it through to the matchplay stages on Sunday. Having qualified in mid-table, Robin made hard work of coming through yesterday’s early rounds and looked certain to lose out in the final against German Christian Braeunig.
He led by one playing the last hole before his German opponent chipped in for eagle, leaving the eventual winner with a nerve-jangling birdie putt to force an extra hole.
He duly holed it and, on the short play-off hole, put his tee shot to six foot for a birdie putt he would make; Braeunig’s tee shot was even closer but his putt lipped out and Sciot-Siegrist advanced.
He played some of his best golf in the final against Tadini who had beaten Daan Huizing, Matthias Schwab and Bradley Neil to reach the final two.
Sciot-Siegrist had makeable birdie putts on five of the six holes, converting three of them, including on the final hole, for a deserved victory.
I played seven tournaments on the Challenge Tour last year and this is my first full season, so I knew what the level was,” added Robin, whose mother hails from Dublin.
My goal has always been to win and I’m very happy I achieved that. It was obviously a very difficult win but enjoyable.”
Braeunig beat Neil for a career-best finish of third with Nemecz fifth, Ross Kellett sixth, Schwab seventh and Ricardo Santos – who came from behind in his second round match to win courtesy of an outrageous albatross on the final hole – completing the top eight.

NI Open – Cormac Sharvin carries home hopes into Shootout Sunday

August 13, 2017

 

Matthias Schwab

The stage is set for an action-packed final day at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf.
Following three rounds of stroke play and two cuts, the field of 156 has been reduced to 24 players for today’s Shootout Sunday.
In this new format, competitors will engage in a series of head-to-head knock-out stroke play matches, with the player with the lowest total score over six holes progressing through the rounds.
A special shootout hole, a shortened version of the 18th, will be used should a playoff be required after any of the games.
Cormac Sharvin will carry home hopes into Sunday after booking his place in today’s finale with a fine five-under-par 66 that saw him move up 21 places on the leaderboard.
The Ardglass golfer will meet Portugal’s Ricardo Santos in round one this morning for the chance to face Chile’s Nico Geyger.
“I know Ricardo very well – I played a lot of Algarve golf with him in the winter,” said Cormac.
“He’s a really nice guy and he is obviously very experienced – he has played a lot of years on the European Tour.

“It will be a tough game but I think, If I can keep playing the way that I am playing – if I play well for six holes – I think I can beat him.”

Cormac was the only Irish golfer to make the third round cut which fell at five under par. Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey carded a third round one under par 70 to miss out as did Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton, Kevin Phelan and Neil O’Briain.
The 24-year-old Sharvin was weighing up his tactics ahead of his opening tee-shot today at 8.30am.
“It’s hard to know with this format. All you can do is play well and hope that it’s good enough,” he added.
“You are essentially playing your opponent but it is stroke play as well. It’s a weird format but obviously, if you are two or three shots ahead playing the last you will play it as a three-shotter.
“The beauty of this format is that you can shoot four over for six holes and still potentially make it through.
“All you can do is take it one shot at a time. You have to play smart because six holes isn’t very much so you have to take your chances.”
Sharvin at least had the luxury of booking his place in today’s field with some room to spare. A five-man playoff for the final two spots was required to determine the top 24
Austrian Matthias Schwab topped the three round leaderboard on 11 under par but Wil Besseling, Steven Brown, Julian Kunzenbacher, Max Orrin and Manuel Trappel all tied on five under par after 54 holes and had to go down the 18th again.
Orrin’s birdie on the first extra hole took him into Shootout Sunday, with Brown dropping out with a bogey; the other three all parred before Trappel birdied at the second time of asking and took the final place in the top 24.

 

NI Open Day two – Murray and Kellett lead way

August 12, 2017

Tom Murray

One cut down, another one to come at this year’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf.
After two days of jockeying for position, the tournament steps up a notch on Saturday with players bidding to finish inside the top 24 and earn a place in Shootout Sunday.
The two-round cut fell at level par on Friday with the magic mark to reach Shootout Sunday hovering around three under.
Ardglass golfer Cormac Sharvin, who finished the day on two under par alongside Irish players Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton and Neil O’Briain was considering a more aggressive approach on Saturday.
“I’m in a pretty good position to get into the last 24. I need one more good round tomorrow,” said Cormac.

“The second cut is around four under at the minute so it’s probably going to go to six.I probably need three or four under par at least tomorrow but you can’t get too aggressive around here.

“I need to be smart, take on flags when they are there but stay away from some tee shots when there is a bit of trouble around.”
Englishman Tom Murray and Scotland’s Ross Kellett lead the way on eight under par, with Austrian Lukas Nemecz a shot further back.
Murray knows how to win on Irish soil, his sole Challenge Tour victory to date came two years ago at the Irish Challenge in Co Carlow, and he is looking forward to the weekend’s contest.
“I don’t know what it is about Ireland but whether it’s south of the border or here up north, it seems to bring out the best in me,” said the 27-year-old.
“The course set up here is probably the best of the year and it feels like a European Tour event, so that helps boost everything, and everything around the event is so good. I’m playing well and putting well, the greens are perfect, so it’s so far so good.
“I was talking to Dominic Foos today on the course about the Shootout Sunday and we were saying how it’s hard, because at the moment it’s just playing like a normal tournament, so we don’t know what to expect really.

“You’ve just got to approach tomorrow how you normally would and go and try to win the tournament, all the boring stuff, shot by shot, then see where we are come Sunday and see what happens.”her back on seven under.”

A total of 73 players made it through to Saturday’s third round with just eight shots separating first from last. Amongst them was tournament ambassador Michael Hoey who had fully expected to miss the cut after following his opening round 69 with a 72 to finish on one under par.
“My game is not far away but it’s just not quite there. It was the same yesterday. I just left a few shots out there,” said Michael.
“The swing is good but I’m just not dialled in enough.”
Play gets underway this morning at 8.30am with the leaders going out at 10.30am.
In the event of a tie for 24th, a sudden death play-off will take place before a draw tomorrow evening to decide the match-play pairings.

Horan and Modest!Golf determined to make positive impact on golfing landscape

August 8, 2017

Niall Horan at Galgorm Castle last year

Niall Horan might sing about “Slow Hands” but there will be nothing pedestrian when the action gets underway at this week’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, presented by Modest!Golf at Galgorm Castle.
The team at Modest! have shaken things up for this year’s showpiece tournament on the international schedule with the eagerly anticipated Shootout Sunday element introduced for the first time.
It’s a brand-new format for the final day where the last remaining players will come down the stretch competing in a knockout format in front of large crowds rather than the traditional four rounds of strokeplay.
“We wanted to put a little twist on it, maybe modernise the format a bit. Golf can be perceived as a little slow and we wanted to speed things up, add more excitement,” said Horan, at this week’s announcement of their fourth player signing, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez from Spain, to the boutique management company.

“The format forces games to play six holes and make it down the 18th and build the atmosphere with a stadium finish. It also helps speed up play and gets people interested that perhaps don’t play golf.”

Introducing new people to the game and nurturing new talent is everything the Modest! team stand for. It’s one of the reasons they elevated their commitment to the NI Open this year to become the presenting sponsor alongside main title sponsor, Galgorm Resort & Spa, who have supported tournament golf at Galgorm Castle from the outset.
“This is the closest thing to a European Tour event these boys will play in. The reaction from the players has been great. You could see the smiles on their faces when we explained the new format,” added Horan.

Before the action begins in earnest on Thursday, the small matter of the Ambassadors Shootout (Tuesday) and the NI Open Pro-am (Wednesday) is the focus with stars from the sporting and entertainment world taking to the course alongside Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey.
“Each year we have grown this great event to become even bigger and better than before. In 2017, we now have legends such as Pat Jennings and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill plus star names like Stephen Ferris and David Healy joining us to have some fun and promote the best attended event on the European Challenge Tour schedule,” said Hoey, a five-time European Tour winner.
“I welcome the many great names who have thrown their name in the hat and will support this year’s NI Open. GAA is represented by Oisin McConville, snooker’s Mark Allen, motorsport’s William Dunlop and athletics star Michael McKillop are among the new NI Open ambassadors.”

Copy provided by Paul Gallagher courtesy of Galgorm Castle

Fairweather bounces back from North of Ireland defeat to book place in NI Open

July 19, 2017

Paul Hughes, Captain Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Valerie Penney, Specsavers Ballymena, Colin Fairweather, NI Amateur Open champion 2017 and John Carruthers, Honorary Secretary Galgorm Castle Golf Club

Knock’s Colin Fairweather came out on top of a three-way playoff to win the 36-hole Northern Ireland Amateur Open sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena.
The 26-year-old birdied the first extra hole at Galgorm Castle to beat Thomas Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown) and former winner, Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene GC).
In doing so, the 26-year-old, earned a place in the field alongside the professionals at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, Presented by Modest! Golf (Aug 10-13).
“I just wanted to win. I wasn’t really thinking about the chance of playing in the NI Open,” said Colin who lost out to Rowan Lester (Hermitage) in the final of the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.
“I didn’t get it last week, but I got that winning feeling again today. It didn’t matter where it was or what tournament it was in. I just wanted to win something, especially after last week when I finished runner-up at Royal Portrush.

“It took me a wee while to get over that so it was great to bounce back so quickly. I’ve always wanted to play in the Challenge Tour event as well, so this win meant an awful lot to me.”

Thomas Mulligan

Colin was leading by one playing the final hole when he lost his ball off the tee. He eventually made a bogey six at the par-five to force his way into the playoff alongside McLarnon and Mulligan.
“It was really tough today, even though the weather was perfect. They have let the rough grow up with the Challenge Tour event in mind,” added Colin.
“I felt I had the advantage on the hole because I was the longest off the tee. I was determined to stay aggressive, you only have one shot at a playoff.”
The trio went back down the 18th and Colin didn’t make the same mistake in sudden death, hitting a long drive down the fairway before firing a seven-iron onto the green to set up a two-putt birdie from 20 feet.
McLarnon missed a five-footer for his birdie, while Mulligan lost a ball off the tee, and though he still managed a par, it was Fairweather who took the spoils.
While Mulligan lost out in the playoff, the 17-year-old had already secured the second NI Open place up for grabs courtesy of Modest! Golf’s invite for the leading under-18 player.
“It’s great, I came here to secure the under-18 invite and massive thanks to Modest! Golf for the opportunity,” said the Leinster player, who also represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy in 2016.
“I had a poor second round but am delighted to have earned my place in the NI Open and I can’t wait to play here again in a few weeks.”
Entry to the NI Open is free, simply register online at http://www.niopen.golf.
This year’s event introduces the exciting new Shootout Sunday knockout format, which is sure to provide plenty of drama for the players and spectators.