Posts Tagged ‘NI Open’

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 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.

Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, to play in NI Open Pro-Am

August 2, 2017

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is the latest high profile signing who will tee it up in next week’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open Pro-am, presented by Modest! Golf.
O’Neill joins a host of star names from Northern Ireland’s sport and entertainment world for a day of fun next Wednesday at Galgorm Castle that serves as the curtain-raiser to the four-day tournament to get under way from August 10-13.
This year the NI Open Pro-am has attracted a stellar line-up of household names who all joined the Ambassador Club to help promote the event alongside long-time Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey.
O’Neill is a keen golfer when not on Northern Ireland duty and this is the first time the manager will play in the NI Open Pro-am. Most of the celebrities will tee off just after midday so make sure to get to Galgorm in plenty of time. O’Neill will be joined by the likes of Michael McKillop, who recently won another middle-distance double at the World Para-athletic Championships in London.
McKillop (27) won the T37 1500m final to add to his T38 800m title to retain the two titles he won at the 2015 championships in Doha. The Glengormley athlete has totally dominated is discipline for over a decade. Next week he will face up to a new challenge on the fairways at Galgorm Castle.
Other star names to look out for include former Northern Ireland heroes David Healy and legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings and snooker’s Mark Allen. Former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions forward Stephen Ferris and Gaelic’s former Armagh and All-Ireland Oisin McConville will also be in action at Galgorm.

Michael McKillop

Modest! Golf will be at Galgorm during tournament week with directors Niall Horan and Mark McDonnell ready to present the trophy to the NI Open winner and the lucky winners of the Junior NI Open on the 18th green in front of the grandstands after the final day Shootout Sunday.
“We say it every time but the NI Open gets better and better each year and 2017 promises to be the best yet, especially with so much to see and do for all the family,” said Hoey, a five-time European Tour winner, who finished eighth in last year’s event behind winner Ryan Fox from New Zealand.

“One of the big talking points for this year’s event is the new Shootout Sunday format where the top 24 players will battle it out in a series of high drama, six-hole matches on the final day. This will give spectators a great opportunity to see the players up close and from the grandstands around the 18th green.”

The NI Open Pro-am is another excellent day for watching some of the best players in Europe compete alongside their celebrities and team of amateurs.
The NI Open is a week-long festival of golf for all the family and entry is FREE, simply register for your tickets online at http://www.niopen.golf

GolfNow introduces new Junior NI Open

May 29, 2017

Faith, Theo and Noah gearing up for the GolfNow Junior NI Open 2017 at Galgorm Castle Golf Club


GolfNow, the leader in online tee time technology, has renewed their sponsorship of the NI Open for the third year in a row and this year will launch a brand new interactive family event at the tournament.
In conjunction with the NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf, GolfNow will host the Junior NI Open to run alongside the main tournament at the Interactive Zone, where children aged 6–9 and 10–13 can take part in the boys and girls competition.
Families stand to win a brand new set of junior TaylorMade clubs for their children. Alongside this great prize, NI Open hosts Galgorm Castle will provide a junior membership to each lucky winner, while the NI Open’s presenting sponsor, Modest! Golf Management, will also be supporting the Junior NI Open with Modest! Golf prizes.
Andrew Hollywood, Marketing Director at GolfNow, said: “We are committed to growing the game of golf and have developed a fantastic junior tournament in line with the main event. The NI Open has a fun interactive zone at the tournament every year and this time around we have a fun competition that is open to junior golfers and is free to enter.

It was important to create something that the whole family can take part in and make starting out on a golf course a less intimidating place.”

Ross Oliver, NI Open Event Manger, commented: “We are delighted to have GolfNow’s continued support for the NI Open. The introduction of the Junior NI Open by GolfNow is a fantastic addition to the event and augments the message that the NI Open is truly a golf tournament for all the family.”
To take part in the Junior NI Open, simply pop along to the Interactive Zone, enjoy a free lesson from PGA Professionals, pick up your competition card from the GolfNow team and hit the pitch and putt course. The competition will run on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of tournament week (August 10-13) with the winners announced at 2pm on the final day.
Entry to the NI Open is FREE, simply register for your free tickets online at http://www.niopen.golf or download the NI Open app.

With thanks to Paul Gallagher

Modest! Golf invite secures spot in NI Open for leading U18 player at NI Amateur Open

May 7, 2017

Cormac Sharvin

Two places in the NI Open are up for grabs at this year’s Northern Ireland Amateur Open at Galgorm Castle.
The winner plus the leading under-18 player will qualify for the NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf, as the golf management company extend their support of the NI Open.
The Northern Ireland Amateur Open, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena, has become one of the province’s standout amateur championships since its inception in 2009 and this year promises to attract another quality field, especially with the added incentive of competing against Europe’s leading professionals from August 10-13.
“Last year we enjoyed a dramatic sudden death playoff before Warrenpoint’s Jamie Fletcher overcame local favourite Michael Reid from Galgorm Castle to add his name to the illustrious list of champions,” explained Galgorm Castle’s Ross Oliver.
“Walker Cup player Cormac Sharvin won in 2012, Ireland internationals Reeve Whitson (2010) and Tiarnon McLarnon (2015) also feature on the roll of honour, while Ballymena’s current shining light, Dermot McElroy, won in 2013 and went on to finish tied ninth at the NI Open and finish as leading amateur.”
Former winners such as Sharvin and McElroy will return to Galgorm to compete as touring professionals, illustrating the role tournament golf at Galgorm plays in the development of Ireland’s young amateurs and professionals.
This year’s Northern Ireland Amateur Open will also guarantee a place in the NI Open for the leading under-18 player, courtesy of an invite from Modest! Golf, as they continue to provide playing opportunities for young amateurs just like they did by inviting Tom McKibbin to play in the 2016 NI Open.

Niall Horan, Director of Modest! Golf, said: “We are excited to be involved in the Northern Ireland Amateur Open and are delighted to extend an invitation to the leading under-18 competitor. These guys are the future stars of the game and we want to support this next generation of talent.”

Tom McKibbin

Fellow Modest! Golf Director Mark McDonnell commented: “We hope this invitation to the leading under-18 player will encourage more applicants from this age group than ever before.
It’s a great platform to test and improve their game and we must thank Galgorm Castle and the European Challenge Tour as always for supporting our values and vision.”
The prestigious 36-hole strokeplay event holds a key date in a busy summer schedule for the game’s elite amateurs.
The Northern Ireland Amateur Open doesn’t clash with other championships and is expected to attract a strong field, not only for the chance to win but for the opportunity to compete in one of the best professional events on the European schedule.
Amateurs competing in the NI Open will also have the opportunity to earn ranking points in the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman, but before that, all focus will be on becoming the 2017 Northern Ireland Amateur Open champion.
Entry forms can be downloaded at niopen.golf or galgormcastle.com.
The closing date for entries is Monday July 3rd, 2017, entry is £35/€45 and includes lunch. For further information contact the Galgorm Castle Professional Shop on +44 (0) 28 2564 6161.

Info courtesy of Paul Gallagher

NI Open embraces change and tweaks format to create Shootout Sunday

March 30, 2017

Ryan Fox plays into the 18th on his way to victory at last year’s NI Open (Photo by PressEye)

It’s all change for this year’s NI Open at Galgorm Castle in the shape of a new format and a new presenting sponsor, Modest! Golf.
Now in its fifth year, the NI Open is one of the best-supported events on the Challenge Tour schedule, both in terms of attendances and depth of field.
This year the NI Open has embraced the European Tour’s vision of introducing fresh new ideas and innovation to professional golf with the introduction of Shootout Sunday.
At this year’s event 156 players will tee it up ahead of the traditional 36-hole cut, before a 54-hole cut on Saturday followed by five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches in what will be a high octane and dramatic #ShootoutSunday.
Note the fact that it is Strokeplay. This tweak sets the event apart from the recent Super 6’s in Perth and ensures that every match will finish on the 18th (see below for full details).
Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey has backed the changes.
“The NI Open comes hot on the heels of the Irish Open and what is being devised here at Galgorm is an exciting new twist which sets it apart from anything we’ve ever had in Northern Ireland,” said Hoey, a five–time European Tour winner, who finished eighth at Galgorm in 2016 behind winner Ryan Fox from New Zealand.

“We have spoken to several players about the change in format, including last year’s winner Ryan, and all agreed that the new format is an extremely exciting new prospect. The NI Open’s unique and innovative strokeplay matches on the Sunday are a first for professional golf and is sure to be a highlight on the global golfing calendar.

Niall Horan and the Modest! team

“The new format is certain to be more entertaining for spectators, especially with holes like the redesigned par three seventh sure to throw up plenty of drama as crowds converge at strategic parts of the course.”
The innovation has also been backed by Mark McDonnell, Director of Modest Golf.
We are delighted to return to the NI Open, this time as Presenting Sponsor. We love working alongside the European Challenge Tour and Galgorm Castle and this year is set to be bigger and better than ever before,” he said.
Fellow Modest! Golf Director Niall Horan commented: “We are excited to be returning to the NI Open and introducing a brand new format. Shootout Sunday will be an exciting concept, both for the players and for spectators.”
The NI Open’s exciting new format offers a new dimension that complements the staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart earlier in the holidays.
Interactive and family events will also be on site at Galgorm Castle during the NI Open and one of the province’s sporting highlights will once again have FREE entry for all spectators.

The NI OPEN 2017
Round 1: 156 players begin three rounds of strokeplay
Round 2: 36-hole cut following close of play (Top 60 and ties)
Round 3: 54-hole cut following close of play (Top 24) to include play-off if required
NI Open Shootout Sunday: Five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches
– The top eight players after 54 holes of strokeplay will receive a bye into the second round of matches and will be seeded.
– The remaining 16 players (positions 9-24) will be randomly paired for the first round matches.
– If there are any ties for 24th position, a sudden-death play-off (18th hole) will determine the qualifiers following the completion of 54 holes.
– The losing quarter-finalists will contest matches to determine positions 5-8 and the losing semi-finalists will contest a match to determine 3-4.
-Any matches level after six holes will be determined by playing the 1st hole (rounds one and two) or a shortened version of the 18th hole (quarter finals, semi-finals and final) as a sudden-death play-off hole.

Day Four recap: Ryan outfoxes the field to win NI Open

August 1, 2016

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Kiwi Ryan Fox equalled the course record at Galgorm Castle as he stormed to victory at the Tayto Northern Ireland Open in partnership with Ulster Bank.
The 29-year-old, who will represent New Zealand at the Rio Olympics, fired a nine under par 62 to finish on 19 under par, winning by four shots.
“It was a pretty good day. To be honest I played exactly how I played all week but got really hot with the putter,” said Ryan, the son of New Zealand All-Black legend, Grant Fox.
“I played really solid from tee to green the whole week. Today I left myself a lot of makeable putts, it got hot and it was nice to keep seeing the ball going in.
“I thought I was flirting with the magical number for a while, but a three putt on 16 didn’t help that.
“It’s tricky out there. If you drive it in the rough it’s brutal, I found that out a couple of times today. To shoot 62 in the last round and win is pretty awesome. I’m pretty happy.”
Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey played in the same group as Fox but never managed to get close enough to threaten the eventual winner.
“I’m happy to have done something this week. I wasn’t at my best, but I’m happy that I did something in the tournament after missing the cut the last few years and not being able to give anything to the crowds,” said Michael.

I really enjoyed playing with Ryan. He was 10 under after 15, he’s definitely a top 50 in the world player.

That was phenomenal shooting today. I thought six or seven under might be good enough but the standard out here is so high and they can shoot the scores, especially when the greens are so good.”
Hoey finished the event alone in eighth on 13 under par after a final round 68.
It was good fun out there. Most enjoyable time on the course I’ve had all year. Best I’ve played all year. I just have to take this form into the rest of the season,” added Michael who has struggled to find any real consistency on the European Tour this season.
“I felt after a few holes that I had a chance. Missing my drive on nine didn’t help (he could only manage a par to Fox’s birdie) and I lost a bit of momentum and adrenalin over the closing holes when I knew I wasn’t going to win.
“It was good to get a little bit of excitement and the crowds are always fantastic at Galgorm, they are not dissimilar to Irish Open crowds in some ways.”

The German duo of Dominic Foos (65) and Bernd Ritthammer (65), England’s Max Orrin (65) and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli (69) finished in second.
Damien McGrane carded a final round 68 to finish tied for ninth on 11 under with Castledawson’s Chris Selfridge a shot further back on 10 under after a closing 69.
“I played my best golf of the week today, and finished with 16 pars and two birdies. I just kept burning the edge,” said the 24-year-old.
“It was just one of the those days and was a disappointing end to the tournament.
“I really didn’t play that good this week and I putted so well to be where I was this week and then the opposite happened today.
“I hit a great putt on the last and it just burned the edge. It’s so frustrating but it’s another good week I did great on Thursday to shoot even par and progressed from there. I’m disappointed, yes. but at the same time it is a good week.”

Can caddy Ryan spark Hoey at NI Open?

July 26, 2016
Hoey Sport NI Tee Off (1)

Michael Hoey in action at Galgorm Castle

Could a friendly face be the key to kick-starting Michael Hoey’s season at this week’s Challenge Tour event in Galgorm Castle?
The five-time tour winner has called on pal Ryan McGuigan – a professional caddy from Castlerock – to take on portering duties at the Tayto NI Open in partnership with Ulster Bank.
“Ryan has worked for Richie Ramsay recently and Danny Willett for a couple of years too. It’s just a one-off but he should be a great help. Like us local guys, he’ll benefit from sleeping in his own bed,” said the Tournament ambassador.
It’s a been a difficult 2016 so far for Michael, who has slipped to 194th in the Race to Dubai rankings, but there has been more encouraging signs of late.
“In terms of swing and practice, I haven’t been doing anything different this season,” added the 37-year-old.

“I’ve been a bit unlucky, travelled too much, I was on the road for 10 weeks at the start of the year and not long after I had sinus surgery.

“It’s quite common to pick up bugs or flu when travelling to so many different places. Really I should have come home for a few weeks, given the likes of Malaysia and Australia a miss. That cost me.”
Now in its fourth year, the NI Open has become one of the standout events on the Challenge Tour. In 2015 the tournament set an all-time attendance record when 39,423 spectators spilled through the gates to see France’s Clément Sordet crowned champion.
This year organisers are confident they can attract in excess of 40,000 spectators for what promises to be a week-long festival of golf.
Hoey will be joined in the field by other Challenge Tour regulars hoping to make home advantage count amongst them Castledawson’s Chris Selfridge who is currently the leading Irish player on the Challenge Tour rankings.
The 24-year-old has already clocked up two top 10 finishes this season in Scotland (T5) and Madrid (T4).
Chris made a big impression at Galgorm last year, carding opening rounds of 68/66 to really put himself into contention before eventually finishing tied for 16th.
“It was brilliant, it was a new experience for me to play in front of such big crowds,” said Chris recently.
“It was a big stage for me, but I will be much better prepared this time around.”
There is still time to register for FREE tickets by logging on to niopen.golf or keeping up to date with all the family activities through the NI Open app, which can be downloaded for iphone and android devices.
The Tayto Northern Ireland Open, in partnership with Ulster Bank, gets underway with the Pro-Am at Galgorm on Wednesday 27th July before the 72-hole tournament starts on Thursday 28th July.

Home grown young stars will be main attraction at Tayto NI Open claims ambassador Hoey

June 21, 2016
Mr Tayto keeps an eye on Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey’s bunker play’ (Photo: Ewan Harkness)

Mr Tayto keeps an eye on Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey’s bunker play’ (Photo: Ewan Harkness)

Another exceptionally strong field is being lined up to compete at this year’s Tayto Northern Ireland Open, in partnership with Ulster Bank.
The Challenge Tour will return to Ballymena venue, Galgorm Castle, for the fourth year in succession from July 28-31.
“The Tayto NI Open will have another great field because there are so many good young Irish players who have turned professional in recent years. You could pick out any one of six or seven, who will all feature at Galgorm.
“Their presence is a real boost for the tournament,” said Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey in reference to the ‘Famous Five’ Irish Walker Cup players from 2015 plus other Irish players plying their trade on the Challenge Tour or are proven winners on the European Tour.
“Damien (McGrane), Peter (Lawrie) and Simon (Thornton) have all indicated to me they are keen to play at Galgorm. Then you have the exciting new talent like Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan, Cormac Sharvin and others who will play.”

Tayto NI Open in partnership with Ulster Bank from imagemediafilms on Vimeo.

Perhaps the most excitement of all surrounds the youngest player in the field after teenage sensation Tom McKibbin received an invite to compete with Europe’s top professionals.
“I’ve played with Tom a few times and he’s a great lad. He and his family are very grounded, there will be no expectations. You have to remember, he is still only 13. That said he is the real deal and can hit the shots. I hope he enjoys the experience,” added Hoey.

You can listen to Tom here on the NI Golf Podcast

The week-long festival of golf, combined with the dedicated Food Festival, art exhibition from golf portrait specialist Mark Robinson, Fun Golf Area, NI Open Village and more promises to serve up something special for all the family.
Tickets for the Tayto NI Open, in partnership with Ulster Bank, are free and can be secured by registering online at niopen.golf.

When it comes to crowd control – experience makes all the difference

May 18, 2016

It’s easy to forget that playing any sport well in front of big crowds doesn’t come naturally.
Like so many things, it’s a skill that has to be learned and usually that experience comes the hard way.
Just ask Chris Selfridge – the Challenge Tour player from Castledawson was speaking on the NI Golf Podcast about the experience of contending at the NI Open last year.
In contention after two rounds, Chris found himself playing in front of a packed gallery on the Saturday at Galgorm Castle and described it a bit of ‘wow’ moment.
“It was brilliant…. but I was almost overwhelmed by the crowds…but it’s all part of the learning,” said Chris who has already clocked up a fourth place finish on the Challenge Tour this season.
In Chris’ defence, the NI Open stands out on the Challenge Tour in terms of attendance levels.
The tournament has attracted upwards of 35,000 in recent years with organisers ambitious about breaking the 40,000 mark this year when the event returns for a fourth successive year in July 28-July 31.
To put that into some context, when Chris was playing in the final group in Madrid a couple of weeks ago he reckons there was approximately 30 people in the crowd.
Episode three also features an interview with Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell who will be playing this week in the Irish Open at the K Club courtesy of his superb victory in the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin.
The Irish international explains how he managed to keep Irish team mate and world number 10, Jack Hume at bay over the closing holes to record the biggest win of his career to date.
There’s also another chance to win a ranging session on Trackman with Andrew Morris golf.