Posts Tagged ‘Lough Erne Resort’

Ireland hold off USA singles fightback to retain International King’s Trophy

May 25, 2017

Ireland’s Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC) with Team USA’s Jacob PSavlk (Bay Pointe GC)
Picture by John McVitty

Ireland retained the International King’s Cup at Lough Erne Resort on Thursday but the eventual margin of victory proved to be much closer than expected.
Leading by 30 points going into today’s (Thursday’s) 16 singles matches Ireland squeezed over the finish line by a mere eight points.
The Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, features 16-man teams of club golfers from both Ireland and the USA going head-to-head over the Sir Nick Faldo designed course in Co. Fermanagh.
Under King’s Cup rules, players receive two points for a hole won, one point each for a hole halved and nothing for a lost hole.
Ireland had the better of things on the opening day, finishing a series of fourball and greensomes matches with 303 points to the USA’s 273 points.
With the singles left to play, Ireland needed to break the 576 point marker to retain the title but found the USA side in no mood to roll over.

The USA went on to win nine of the 16 singles ties but Ireland’s overnight buffer and a superb individual effort from Irvinestown’s Martin Peters (Donegal GC), who beat Joseph Costello (Tijares Creek) 27-9, saw Ireland home.
“Even though it’s friendly competition, there is still a lot of pride involved as you are representing your country and playing for your team mates so I was focused on doing well today,” said the 37-year-old Irvinestown based Peters.

“I got ahead around the sixth and from there on I stayed in control. In match play you have to try and keep the pressure on. Keep getting up on the tee first and finding the fairway.”

Team Ireland – winners of the 2017 International King’s Cup

Ireland’s other singles winners were Declan McKeever (Donegal GC), Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill), Colm Feeney (Galway Bay GC), John Collins (Westport GC) and Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) with Niall Clince (Craddockstown) claiming a half.
International King’s Cup founder, Larry Lunsford was disappointed to lose for the second time but buoyed by a strong fightback today (Thursday).
“All I can say is that I am proud of the team for making such a huge comeback on the last day.
It was remarkable, better than anything I have ever seen,” said Larry.
“You know, when we made the turn the teams were level on the day so to make up 22 points over the closing nine holes was a great effort.”

Thursday May 25
The International King’s Cup
At Lough Erne Resort
Singles results
Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC) 12 Jacob Pavlk (Bay Pointe GCC) 24
Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) 20 David Adams (Castlewoods GC) 15
Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) 21 Dennis Bassham (Auburn GC) 15
Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) 16 Patrick Olsen (Auburn GC) 20
Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill) 22 Mike Farber (Golf Club of Georgia) 14
Kevin Commins (Ardee) 17 Marvin Warner (Atlanta CC) 19
Martin Peters (Donegal GC) 27 Joseph Costello (Tijares Creek CC) 9
Vincent Owens (Omagh GC) 12 Matt McDevitt (Tijares Creek CC) 24
Alan Moran (Tuam GC) 14 Carl Ellis (Pinery CC) 22
Colm Feeney (Galway Bay GC) 20 Andy Titterton (Pinery CC) 16
Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) 18 Bill Orne (The Legends GC) 18
Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC) 16 Michael White (New Berlin Hills) 20
John Collins (Westport GC) 19 Michael DiFrancesco (Sandridge GC) 17
Liam Friel (Westport GC) 12 Gary Morris (Sandridge GC) 24
James McAllister (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 15 Andy Kieffer (Hawthorne Woods) 21
Patsy O’Donnell (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 16 Phil Smith (Schaumburg GC) 20
Overall results
Fourballs: Ireland 148 USA 140
Greensomes: Ireland 155 USA 133
Singles: Ireland 277 USA 299
Total: Ireland 580 USA 572

International King’s Cup – Day One report – Ireland on course to retain trophy

May 24, 2017

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Afternoon – Ireland look well placed to retain the International King’s Cup after a dominant afternoon greensomes session at Lough Erne Resort.
The Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, features 16-man teams of amateur golfers from both Ireland and the USA going head to head over the Sir Nick Faldo designed course in Co. Fermanagh.
Under King’s Cup rules, players receive two points for a hole won, one point each for a hole halved and nothing for a lost hole. Leading by eight points after the morning fourballs, Ireland then won five greensomes ties to extend their lead to 30 points ahead of Thursday’s singles.
The display was epitomised by the Dunmurry Springs GC pairing of Darren Carey and Paul Sweeney who, beaten 24-12 by David Adams and Jacob Pavlk in the morning, responded to see off the same pair 21-15 in the afternoon.
“We were never down in the tie, played solid golf and dovetailed nicely,” said Kildare native Carey.
Ireland picked up points on their opponents in the top four ties with Darren McKeever and Declan McKeever, Kevin Commins and Tom Muldoon and Vincent Owens and Martin Peters all winning.
The run of victories was finally brought to a halt by the Parker, Colorado duo of Carl Ellis and Andy Titterton who beat the Co Galway pairing of Alan Moran and Colm Feeney 20-16.
“We just ground it out,” said Ellis, a 52-year-old who plays his golf at Pinery Country Club.

“Andy and I have played a lot of best ball competitions and that experience certainly helped today.”

The USA picked up two further greensomes wins via Bill Orne and Michael White and Andy Kieffer and Phil Smith but late in the day, Westport GC duo Liam Friel and John Collins completed a 25-11 victory over Michael DiFrancesco and Gary Morris to put Ireland in the box seat.
With a total of 1152 points on offer, the first team to reach 577 points will win the title.
The teams will play singles this morning starting at 9am.

Totals – Ireland 303 USA 273
Afternoon Greensomes
American names first
David Adams & Jacob Pavlk 15 Darren Carey & Paul Sweeney 21
Dennis Bassham & Patrick Olsen 17 Darren McKeever & Declan McKeever 19
Mike Farber & Marvin Warner 14 Kevin Commins & Tom Muldoon 22
Joseph Costello & Matt McDevitt 19 Vincent Owens & Martin Peters 21
Carl Ellis & Andy Titterton 20 Alan Moran & Colm Feeney 16
Bill Orne & Michael White 19 Kieran O’Brien & Niall Clince 17
Michael DiFrancesco & Gary Morris 11 Liam Friel & John Collins 25

picture by John McVitty, Enniskillen, Co.Fermanagh, N.Ireland-07771987378
Morning – There’s little to choose between the USA and Ireland after the opening series of fourball betterball matches on day one of the International King’s Cup at Lough Erne Resort.
The sides split the eight morning matches four apiece but the unique scoring system employed by tournament organisers saw Ireland emerge with an eight point lead.
Under King’s Cup rules, players receive two points for a hole won, one point each for a hole halved and nothing for a lost hole.
Ireland finished the morning session on 148 points, with the pairing of Kevin Commins (Cloverhill GC) and Tom Muldoon (Ardee GC) leading the way. The experienced campaigners amassed 26 points against Mike Farber and Marvin Warner.
“We were solid right from the start. I think we finished with a three under better ball total,” said Tom.
Team USA got off to a blistering start with David Adams and Jacob Pavlk easing to a 12 point win over Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs) and Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs).
Pavlk produced one of the shots of the day at the par five fourth hole firing a 222 yard four iron into 20 feet before rolling in the putt for an eagle.
“We played well, both of us struck the ball well this morning,” said 38-year-old Adams a Mortgage Broker from Brandon, Mississippi.

“The trick was always having two guys in the hole with putts to win the hole.”

The USA went further ahead when Washington state duo Dennis Bassham and Patrick Olsen beat Kesh brother Darren and Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) 20-16. However, Commins and Muldoon stopped the rot and Ireland then enjoyed a period of dominance.
Vincent Owens (Donegal GC) and Martin Peters (Omagh GC) grabbed 19 points, Alan Moran (Tuam GC) and Colm Feeney (Galway GC) ended the morning with 21 points and then the Craddockstown duo of Kieran O’Brien and Niall Clince followed up with a 20 point haul.
“It was tough out there. We were two under for the back nine. That shows you the type of golf needed to get a result,” said O’Brien.
“It has been a fantastic event so far, there was even a bit of nerves there on the first tee this morning.”
The final two morning ties went the way of Team USA by just two points to narrow the gap to eight as the players grabbed some lunch before getting back on the course.
The teams will play eight greensomes matches this afternoon before a final day of singles matches on Thursday.
With a total of 1152 points on offer, the first team to reach 577 points will win the title.

Day One
Morning Fourballs
American names first
David Adams & Jacob Pavlk 24 Darren Carey & Paul Sweeney 12
Dennis Bassham & Patrick Olsen 20 Darren McKeever & Declan McKeever 16
Mike Farber & Marvin Warner 10 Kevin Commins & Tom Muldoon 26
Joesph Costello & Matt McDevitt 17 Vincent Owens & Martin Peters 19
Carl Ellis & Andy Titterton 15 Alan Moran & Colm Feeney 21
Bill Orne & Michael White 16 Kieran O’Brien & Niall Clince 20
Michael DiFrancesco & Gary Morris 19 Liam Friel & John Collins 17
Andy Kieffer & Phil Smith 19 James McAllister & Patsy O’Donnell 17

Ireland finalise team to face USA in the International King’s Cup at Lough Erne Resort

May 3, 2017

Ireland’s team to face the USA in the International King’s Cup has been confirmed after a final qualifying event at Lough Erne Resort.
Following four regional qualifiers at Ardglass GC, Ennis GC, Westport GC and Dunmurry Springs GC, 60 players arrived at the Co Fermanagh venue, focused on securing a place on Ireland’s 16-man (8 pairs) team to face the USA in May.
Blustery conditions made life tricky for many of the competitors but it didn’t seem to bother two Kesh brothers Declan McKeever and Darren McKeever. The duo earned their spots on the Ireland team with a solid two-over par round of 74. They were later joined by another Co Fermanagh based pair of Vincent Owens and Martin Peters.
The best score of the day came from a pair of three-handicappers from Munster – Alan Moran (Tuam) and Colm Feeney (Galway GC) – who finished with a fine better-ball score of two under par 70.
Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort said: “Many thanks to the clubs that hosted regional qualifiers and all the players who competed to try and earn a place on the Ireland team.

“I’m convinced that we have put a very strong team together capable of defending the trophy we won last year. We are looking forward to the main event now and can’t wait for the Americans to arrive in Northern Ireland so they can get a taste of golf, N.I style.”

The International King’s Cup was first played last year and finished in dramatic style with Ireland winning after a thrilling play-off. The Ryder Cup style tournament, which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, will take place this year from May 23-25.
Both teams will stay on-site at the Lough Erne resort, with full access to the golf academy, receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and attend two Gala dinners as part of the event.

International King’s Cup Qualifiers
Senior Championship – Alan Moran (Tuam GC) & Colm Feeney (Galway GC)
Senior Category A – Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) & Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC)
Senior Category B – Liam Friel (Westport GC) & John Collins (Westport GC)
Senior Category C – James McAllister (Ballybofey & S GC) & Patsy O’Donnell (Ballybofey & S GC)
Open Age Championship – Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs) & Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC)
Category A Open Age – Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) & Darren McKeever (Donegal GC)
Category B Open Age – Kevin Commins (Ardee GC) & Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill GC)
Category C Open Age – Vincent Owens (Donegal GC) & Martin Peters (Omagh GC)

International King’s Cup hopefuls prepare for Lough Erne showdown

April 15, 2017

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The stage is set for an enthralling King’s Cup qualifying shoot-out at Lough Erne Resort on Sunday April 23.
Following four regional qualifiers, the contenders have been whittled down to just 60 players who will descend on the Co Fermanagh venue determined to book their place on Ireland’s 16 man (8 pairs) team to face the USA in May.
“I want to thank everyone who competed in the regional qualifiers at Ardglass GC, Ennis GC, Westport GC and Dunmurry Springs GC,” said Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort.
“We were encouraged by participants and fans of the tournament to take qualifying around the country so that’s exactly what we did. The competitors love the format [four different handicap categories and two age brackets] which means that everyone, regardless of age or handicap has a chance to represent Ireland.

“We are looking forward to welcoming all the qualifiers to Lough Erne, many of whom will be visiting for the first time, so they can savour the Northern Ireland golfing experience.”

The International King’s Cup was first played in 2016 and finished in dramatic style with Ireland eventually winning after a final hole play-off.
The Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, features 16-man teams from Ireland and the USA going head to head over three days.
The leading eight teams from the final qualifying event on April 23 will go on represent Ireland in the three-day competition from May 23-25.
They will stay on-site at the Lough Erne resort, with access to the golf academy and facilities, receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and attend two Gala dinners.

Ardglass GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Jonathan Feenan (Ardglass GC) (5) & Gerard Copeland (Ardglass) (1) 62
Category A Open Age – Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) (13) & Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) (6) 65
Category B Open Age – John Mullan (Ardglass GC) (14) & Conor McConvey (Ardglass GC) (6) 68
Category C Open Age – Martin Peters (Donegal GC) (16) & Vincent Owens (Omagh GC) (15) 67
Senior Category A – Colin Crozier (Carnalea GC) (6) & Alan Stewart (Kirkistown GC) (11) 71 (bb9)
Senior Category B – Mark Bohill (Downpatrick GC) (15) & Philip Connor (Ardglass GC) (12) 71
Senior Category C – James McAllister (Ballybofey & S GC) (16) & Patsy O’Donnell )Ballybofey & S GC) (16) 71

Dunmurry Springs GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) (3) & Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC)(6) 69
Category A Open Age – Sean O’Gallchair (Cloughaneely GC) (9) & Barry McCormack (Dumurry Springs GC) (2) 71
Category B Open Age – Flann Hayes (Dunmurry Springs GC) (6) & Rob Caschera (Dunmurry Springs GC) (14) 71
Category C Open Age – John Lennon (Moate GC) (13) & Charlie McGrath (Moate GC) (21) 81
Senior Championship – John Hughes (Woodbrook GC) (0) & Paddy Lewis (Woodbrook GC) (4) 72
Senior Category A – Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) (4) & Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC) (6) 72
Senior Category B – John Nealon (Athy GC) (14) & Joe Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny GC) (11) 79
Senior Category C – Christy McNally (Dunmurry Springs GC) (13) & Tony Donnelly (Dunmurry Springs GC) (17) 78

Ennis GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Alan Purcell (Adare Manor GC) ( (2) & Liam Lenihan (Shannon GC) (5) 75
Category A Open Age – Sean Myatt (Ennis GC) (6) & Ian Myatt (Ennis GC) (8) 67
Category B Open Age – Frank Gormley (Ennis GC) (14) & Colin Ryan (Ennis GC) (7) 73
Category C Open Age – Alan White (Limerick GC) (14) & Gary Power (Limerick GC) (17) 81
Senior Category A – ML Ryan (Tipperary GC) (5) & Pat Creamer (Tipperary GC) (9) 73
Senior Category B – Martin White (Ennis GC) (12) & Paddy Meehan (Woodbrook GC) (10) 77
Senior Category C – Steve Burns (Ennis GC) (13) & John Finn (Ennis GC) (17) 78

Westport GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Tony Bree (Westport GC) (2) & Michael Kearns (Westport GC) (1) 72
Category A Open Age – Waylon McEniff (Clones GC) (8) & Gareth Beattie (Clones GC) (11) 77 (bb3)Category B Open Age – Kevin Commins (Ardee GC) (6) & Thomas O’Madden (Ardee GC) (14) 70
Category C Open Age – Paul Doherty (Ballybofey & S GC) (15) & Mark Ponsonby (Letterkenny GC) (16) 86
Senior Championship – Alan Moran (Tuam GC) (3) & Colm Feeney (Galway GC) (3) 70
Senior Category A – Joe Mullally (Tuam GC) (6) & Danny McGrath (Tuam GC) (6) 76
Senior Category B – Liam Friel (Westport GC) (12) & John Collins (Westport GC) (16) 74
Senior Category C – Richie Lee (Oughterard GC) (15) & Seamus McHugh (Ballinrobe GC) (16) 80

Robert Moran wins at Lough Erne to secure place in Faldo Series Grand Final

April 7, 2017

Robert Moran (Castle) won the 2017 Faldo Series Ireland Championship

Robert Moran produced the best round of the day to win the Faldo Series Ireland at Lough Erne Resort by a single shot.
The Castle GC member fired an excellent final round of 69 – four shots better than any other player on the day – to book his ticket to the illustrious Faldo Series Grand Final.
The competitors battled tough windy conditions at the famed Faldo Course. Two brilliant rounds from the top two players aside, every other golfer posted 72 or over.
Moran was off the pace on day one but he hung in until he finally overhauled David Kitt (Athenry) on the 16th hole of the final day.
Kitt can count himself incredibly unfortunate not to make the Faldo Series Grand Final. His opening round of 68 was an exhilarating exhibition of golf but his fellow Under-18 competitor Moran was also in sublime form.
Rory Williamson (Holywood) came to Lough Erne as the defending Champion. Although unable to defend his title, he won the Under-21 section by three shots.
He was also only two shots behind the overall victor. A sumptuous eagle on the difficult ninth hole was the highlight of the day for Williamson who will go to his second Grand Final in September.
Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) will line up in her first Grand Final after winning the Under-21 Girls’ section.
Forbes overcame some shaky moments to claim a one-shot victory over Gemma McCarthy (Clonmel). McCarthy finished well but had to eventually settle for runner-up.
Anna Foster (Elm Park) edged out Ella Hammond-Baveystock (Wentworth) to win the Girls’ Under-16 category by one shot. Foster birdied the 17th to seal the win and will head to her first Faldo Series Grand Final.

Leading final scores: Faldo Series Ireland
Boys Collated Results
Girls Collated Results

Selected Scores
Boys’ Under-21: 145 – Rory Williamson (Holywood) 72-73; 148 – Shane McDermott (Cavan) 74-74, Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 73-75.
Boys’ Under-18: 143 – Robert Moran (Castle) 74-69; 144 –David Kitt (Athenry) 68-76.
Girls’ Under 21: 165 – Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) 82-83; 166 – Gemma Mccarthy (Clonmel) 86-80.
Girls’ Under-16: 172 – Anna Foster (Elm Park) 88-84; 173 Ella Hammond-Baveystock (Wentworth) 86-87.

For full scores and results from the Faldo Series Ireland Championship visit www.faldoseries.com. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/faldoseries.

 

Williamson to defend Faldo Series Ireland title at Lough Erne Resort

March 27, 2017


The new Faldo Series season begins at the stunning Lough Erne Resort on April 3-4.
Lough Erne will welcome a field brimming with talent for the tenth Faldo Series Ireland Championship with places in the 21st Faldo Series Grand Final awaiting the age group winners.
Competitors aged 12 to 21 still have an opportunity to enter the Faldo Series Ireland Championship.
Any entrants will be wary of defending champion, Holywood’s Rory Williamson, whose mastery of the conditions in his final round was decisive in winning the tournament in 2016.
Irishmen Paddy Culhane and Eoin Murphy have shown form in the Faldo Series and will look to depose Williamson to take the glory for themselves.
Around 90 golfers will line up in the tenth Ireland Championship, to be played over two rounds on the Faldo Course at Lough Erne.
The field will be divided into five age-groups – three for boys and two for girls – and the winners of each division will again join Faldo at the season-ending 21st Faldo Series Grand Final, a 54-hole World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year.
Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

To enter the Faldo Series go to www.faldoseries.com.
For more information on the Faldo Series visit www.nickfaldo.com.
You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.

The Kings Cup returns for 2017 with more places up for grabs on Team Ireland

January 25, 2017

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Club golfers from the USA and Ireland will meet at Lough Erne Resort in May this year for the second staging of a unique transatlantic competition.
The International Kings Cup Match Play event is a leading amateur event played in honour of golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer.
Four provincial qualifiers will be staged across Ireland in a bid to find the best Irish team to take on the USA in a three day 54 hole match-play tournament from May 22-25.
The event is structured like the Ryder Cup and was created in 2016 when the United States Golf Challenge, the largest pairs better ball tournament in the US, brought their leading eight pairs 16-man amateur team across to Northern Ireland to compete against Ireland in the first ever International Kings Cup.
The format of the event offers anyone who holds an official GUI handicap the chance to qualify and book their place on the Team Ireland panel. There are four handicap sections and there is also two age brackets from which the two man teams can qualify (age 18+ and Senior 50+).
There are two stages of qualification with the first being held at a venue in each province. Eight two-man teams from each qualifier will go forward to compete in a final qualifying stage to be played on the Faldo Course on April 23 at the five-star Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh.
Speaking as the event was announced, Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort said it was a fantastic tribute to the legendary Arnold Palmer and an event which would attract golfers from all across Ireland.
“Following the success of the 2016 staging of the International Kings Cup this is one of the most eagerly anticipated amateur tournaments in 2017. We at Lough Erne Resort are thrilled to be hosting this event for the second consecutive year which will see 32 golfers from across the United States and Ireland play on the magnificent Faldo Course,” said Lynn.

“I’m delighted to take the event this year to four courses in Ireland. Each of the qualifying clubs have really got behind the event including Ardglass Golf Club in Ulster, Dunmurry Springs in Leinster, Westport Golf Club in Connacht, and Ennis Golf Club in Munster.

 “We look forward to welcoming players from both sides of the Atlantic to the event, which looks set to stir up Ryder Cup-style rivalry amongst the teams. Competitors will be able to experience first-hand Lough Erne Resort and why Northern Ireland is truly a land made for golf.”

For full details visit: www.lougherneresort.com/International-Kings-Cup.html

QUALIFYING DATES
Ulster Qualifier – Ardglass Golf Club – Friday 24th March
Leinster Qualifier – Dunmurry Springs Golf Club – Sunday 26th March
Munster Qualifier – Ennis Golf Club – Friday 31st March
Connacht Qualifier – Westport Golf Club – Sunday 1st April
Final Qualifier  –  Lough Erne Resort – Sunday 23rd April

Portstewart to host Irish Open in 2017 as part of links swing before Open Championship

July 27, 2016
Rory McIlroy with Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club

Rory McIlroy with Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club

Portstewart Golf Club will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open next year, launching a three-week spell of links golf culminating in the Open Championship.
The Irish Open was held at the K Club in May this year and won by tournament host Rory McIlroy, but in 2017 it will move to July 6-9, immediately preceding the Scottish Open at Dundonald and the Open at Royal Birkdale.
The move to Portstewart had been widely touted and followed the European Tour’s decision in April to take the event away from the Lough Erne Resort, but the change of date is a significant boost for the tournament which will be supported once again by the Rory Foundation.
“We’ve been working hard with The European Tour over the last couple years to try and find suitable venues and a suitable date for The Irish Open,” said Rory during Tuesday’s press conference ahead of the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
“We sort of knew a long time ago that Portstewart was going to be probably where we were going to go play it in 2017. To get that date right before the Scottish is huge.

“To play a round of links golf leading into the Open, hopefully we can attract some marquis names to come over and play. With it being at the start of July, hopefully, fingers crossed, we can get some decent weather.

“I think it can only be good for the event. I’m really excited for it. I’m excited that The European Tour have worked with us and helped us getting that date and getting suitable venues going forward. I’m excited for Portstewart next year.”
It is the third time the tournament will be played in Northern Ireland after previous outings at Royal County Down (2014) and Royal Portrush (2012)
McIlroy added; “Portstewart is an excellent links course and one of Northern Ireland’s hidden gems, so it’s great news that we are taking the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open there next year.
“Winning at the K Club earlier this year was without doubt one of the highlights of my career, and I’m already looking forward to defending my title at Portstewart next July.
“The crowds at Portrush and Royal County Down were unbelievable and I’m sure the people of Northern Ireland will come out to support the tournament again next year.”
The Scottish Open is guaranteed its coveted place in the calendar up to and including 2020, although the Irish Open is keen for that to change.
Speaking earlier this month, Martin Gilbert – chief executive of Scottish Open sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management – said: “I keep telling them they should switch the Irish and the French Open, and then you have the Irish, Scottish then the British. That would be the much more logical arrangement.”

Have a look at what the players will face next year

Founded in 1894 and long considered one of the country’s finest links courses, Portstewart will be staging a European Tour event for the first time when tournament host Rory McIlroy defends his title there next summer.
Portstewart features three 18-hole layouts, with the Des Giffin-designed Strand Course – which will host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – considered the jewel in the crown.
The Strand Course has hosted numerous amateur tournaments including the 2014 Amateur Championship, which was won by Bradley Neil and just this month, staged two rounds of qualifying for the North of Ireland Amateur Championship.
Michael Moss, General Manager of Portstewart Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to team up with The European Tour to host the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“The Club will embrace the challenge, and we have no doubt that the Strand Course will provide nothing less than a worthy test of golf.”
For more information about tickets and corporate hospitality visit http://www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.

Rory Williamson wins Faldo Series Ireland crown

April 21, 2016
Rory Williamson

Rory Williamson

Holywood’s Rory Williamson won the Faldo Series Ireland Championship by a single shot on the Faldo Course. Williamson fired rounds of 71/69 to hold off the fierce challenges of Shane McDermott and Jamie Fletcher, who finished in joint second place overall.
The tournament attracted 96 players to the renowned Faldo Course at Lough Erne Golf Resort, with the five category winners qualifying for the 20th Faldo Series Grand Final.
Williamson was very satisfied with his final round in particular, his back nine and birdies on 17 and 18 to get him home in 32. The score was made all the more impressive by the pressure being exerted from the chasing pack.
Williamson won the Boys’ Under-21 by a single stroke but the Boys’ Under-18 was more conclusive. Peter Cummins (Lurgan) has showcased his talent in the Faldo Series previously, and so it was again as he shot 75/70 to win by four strokes. Cummins was able to seize the birdie chances on the back nine to post a great score on the testing Faldo Designed layout.
Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) was the victor in the Boys’ Under-16 division. He claimed the spoils by four shots over Conor Glennon (Glasson). Murphy’s rounds of 74/70 at such a venue will fill him with confidence. Murphy’s efforts also grant him qualification to his first Faldo Series Grand Final.
The Girls’ Under-21 category was claimed by Mary Doyle (The Heath) by five shots over Maeve Cummins. Doyle was able to lead from start to finish in rounds of 74/77. The Girls’ Under 16 division was a closer affair as Anna Foster of Elm Park edged out Kate Dwyer by a single shot. Foster headed home in 33 on the final day to take the glory. Both Doyle and Foster qualified for the Grand Final later this year.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 140 – Rory Williamson (Holywood) 71-69; 141–Shane McDermott (Cavan Golf Club) 72-69, Jamie Richard Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 70-71.
Boys’ Under 18: 145 – Peter Cummins (Lurgan) 75-70; 149 – Paddy Culhane (Galway GC) 74-75, Robert Moran (Castle) 75-74.
Boys’ Under 16: 144 – Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 74-70; 148 – Conor Glennon (Glasson) 72-76.
Girls’ Under 21: 151 – Mary Doyle (The Heath) 74-77; 156 – Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 79-77.
Girls’ Under 16: 169 – Anna Foster (Elm Park) 93-76; 170 – Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) 85-85.

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Lough Erne misses out on Irish Open amid claims Euro Tour is now pursuing ‘links strategy’

April 12, 2016
The 10th at Lough Erne

The 10th at Lough Erne

There is a great sense of frustration in the statement released by the owners of the Lough Erne Resort following the European Tour’s announcement that the Co Fermanagh venue would not be hosting the Irish Open in 2017.
Tourism NI officials were informed at the weekend of the European Tour’s decision and Monday’s official confirmation only served to rubber-stamp what was already a widely held belief.

Read this report from earlier in the year.
http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport/golf-news/lough-erne-resort-insist-plans-are-in-place-to-host-irish-open-2017-1-7189096

EUROPEAN TOUR STATEMENT
The European Tour can today confirm that the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation will not take place at the Lough Erne Resort.
European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “During a recent visit to the Lough Erne Resort, I was delighted to meet with the owners and to learn more about their significant investment plans for the golf course and hotel. It is a beautiful facility with an outstanding championship golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo.
While the 2017 Irish Open will not be staged at Lough Erne, the European Tour looks forward to working with the new ownership consortium, and I am confident that the Lough Erne Resort will host an event with the European Tour in the future.
“Details of the 2017 venue will be announced in due course, but in the meantime we are solely focused on ensuring that the 2016 tournament, which will be staged at The K Club in County Kildare in six weeks’ time, is a great success.”

It looks like there is a promise of an event of some type in the future but that will be of little consolation for everyone at Lough Erne and in Fermanagh as a whole.
The Irish Open is big business and usually provides a major boost to the local economy. It appears that Portstewart GC will reap the rewards, particularly as according to the Lough Erne statement the European Tour is now pursuing a ‘traditional links course strategy’.

LOUGH ERNE RESORT STATEMENT
“We are extremely disappointed that the European Tour has announced a change in its decision to hold the 2017 Irish Open Championship at Lough Erne Resort. From the day we acquired the Resort, we have been excited and committed to hosting the event, and we have never waivered from that commitment.
We have in fact continued to make additional investments in the course and the Resort facilities, both of which are in superior condition to when the 2014 announcement was made.
But, over the last several months, senior tour officials began telling us that European Tour management was considering a ‘traditional links course strategy’ for future Irish Opens, and because of that new strategy there had been indications that the 2017 date at Lough Erne might be in jeopardy.
From the beginning of those conversations, we have remained steadfast in our position not to accept this change from the Tour, and we have spent the last few months trying to work with Tour officials at the highest level to persuade them to keep their commitment to Lough Erne Resort and the region.
However, despite our willingness to work with the Tour in every way to convince them to maintain their commitment, they have made the decision to change the venue to a traditional links course in 2017 and at this point we have no choice but to accept it. We are disappointed not only for the Resort, but also for our staff and the good people of County Fermanagh.
We have to accept the decision that the Tour has made, with its strategic commitment to links golf in the Irish Open for the near future, and we do welcome the decision to keep the Open in Northern Ireland next year.
If and when that strategy changes, Lough Erne Resort looks forward to being first in line to host the next Irish Open that is not on a links course.
We would like to thank all of those that worked so hard on initially obtaining this event for Lough Erne Resort. We would especially like to thank officials of the Northern Ireland Government for their unwavering support for Lough Erne Resort and for doing everything possible to avoid this outcome.
While we are clearly disappointed with the European Tour’s decision, the Resort’s ownership group remains committed to working with Tour officials towards bringing a future Irish Open or an equivalent event to Lough Erne Resort.”

A ‘links strategy’ has long been mooted for the Irish Open but to my mind, this is the first time it has been referred to as tour policy. It will be interesting to see if Tour officially confirm that they only want to take the Irish Open to links venues in the future. If that’s the case, the likes of Mount Juliet and the soon to be refurbished Adare Manor Resort might be reconsidering their own ambitions.
On a more positive note the Lough Erne statement reveals that the Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2017 although, once again, that has clearly not been confirmed by the European Tour.
If the Tour is following a links strategy, then by a process of elimination, Portstewart will be the host venue given that Royal Portrush is currently being redeveloped for The Open and Royal County Down is highly unlikely to take it back so soon after the staging in 2015.
None of this will be going down well amongst the corridors of power at the NI Executive who made a significant commitment to the European Tour in 2014 when the Lough Erne announcement was first made.
If the tour is working on a links course strategy then it flies in the face of the government’s strategic plans to grow the value of the golf tourism business in Northern Ireland. Could that jeopardise any further financial and logistical investment from the Stormont Executive in the Irish Open??
For background on the NI Golf tourism strategy read – The Irish Open, Lough Erne and the government’s £50million tourism strategy

A spokesperson for Tourism NI said; “Together with the NI Executive, Tourism NI has been working towards staging the tournament at Lough Erne Resort, as announced by the European Tour in April 2014.
“We are therefore extremely disappointed at today’s decision by the European Tour not to stage the Irish Open at Lough Erne in 2017, which was formally communicated to us over the weekend.
“We have requested an urgent meeting with the European Tour to discuss options open to the Executive following the announcement, and where this decision leaves plans for the return of the Irish Open to Northern Ireland which is a matter of contractual agreement.
“We welcome the European Tour’s commitment to Lough Erne in the future and expect these plans to be forthcoming as a matter of urgency.”