Posts Tagged ‘Portstewart’

Hoey putting best foot forward for NI Open at Galgorm Castle

August 13, 2018

Michael Hoey
Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Michael Hoey has shown a welcome return to form of late and is hoping a good week at the Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf can propel him further up the Challenge Tour rankings.
The NI Open tournament ambassador dropped off the main tour a couple of seasons ago but the five-time European Tour winner has remained focused and is still eyeing a return to the top table.
As the European Challenge Tour moves towards the business end of the season, players are hoping to secure one of the coveted top 15 places that guarantee playing rights on the main European Tour next season.
Hoey is currently 25th in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah standings but renewed confidence with the putter has given the 39-year-old belief that he can compete at the top level and still win on tour.
“Putting has been key for me this season. I’ve got a lot of confidence back with my putter and that feeds through the whole game. I’m enjoying rolling putts, sounds pretty simple, but yes, I’m enjoying my game just now,” said Hoey, whose last win came at the 2013 Russian Open on the European Tour.
“It’s fractional differences, the thickness of the putter grip, the way I grip the putter. I’ve been using the same Scotty Cameron that I’ve used for four years. Putting is a game within a game.”
His confidence with the blade bodes well for this week as the quality of greens at Galgorm always come in for special mention by the players, who are also glad the NI Open has returned to a traditional 72-hole strokeplay format.
“The condition of the course and facilities are massive factors for players planning their schedules. The course is always in very good condition and the greens are immaculate,” added Hoey.

“Everyone I speak to is happy we are back to 72-hole strokeplay. In 2017 we had a one-off opportunity to try something different with Shootout Sunday when the tournament was in close proximity in terms of time and distance to the Irish Open at Portstewart.”

After a mixed start to the season, Hoey found form in recent weeks and tied fourth at the Made in Denmark Challenge in July and was tied seventh in the Italian Challenge where he shot four rounds in the 60s.
His best finish at the NI Open came in 2016 when he was eighth behind runaway winner Ryan Fox. The powerful New Zealander closed with a final round 62 to close out the win. In 2017, Robin Sciot-Siegrist from France secured his maiden Challenge Tour win in the Shootout Sunday format.
“It’s good to see former NI Open winners such as Ryan Fox and Joakim Lagergren (2014) have gone on to feature prominently on the main European Tour since their successes at Galgorm,” added Hoey, who continues to enjoy his role as Tournament Ambassador, a role he embraced for the first time in 2013.
“The NI Open is always one of the best events of the year. I love being associated with it and enjoy working with the team at Galgorm. They do all the heavy lifting, I just turn up and play golf.”

Copy courtesy of Galgorm Castle

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Outsider Lynch grabs his moment in the sun at Royal Portrush

July 14, 2018

Ian Lynch (Rosslare)
Tos Caffrey / Golffile

Unheralded Ian Lynch (Rosslare GC) won the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at a sun-baked Royal Portrush GC. The 29-year-old software engineer beat Englishman, Kieran Babbage (The Players Club) 2&1 in Friday’s final.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I came up here for a bit of a family holiday and some golf and now I’m North of Ireland champion. It’s surreal to even say it, it’s unbelievable,” said Lynch moments after clinching victory on the 17th.
“I was playing ok before the tournament started. I won a scratch cup a month or so ago but still, this is a big step up. I played alright on the first day of qualifying on The Valley, shooting three under.
“I thought, ‘fair enough, you have a chance of making the matchplay stages now’.
“From then on I was just taking it one round at a time. Anything can happen in match play. In the first round I won on the 20th and then in the quarter-finals, I went to the 19th.
“If any of those tight matches go the wrong way I’m home early but thankfully, they went my way.”
There was nothing to separate the finalists in the early exchanges and the match was level as they turned for home. Lynch then made his move, winning the 10th and 11th in par to go two clear.
Babbage conceded the 14th when he came to grief in a greenside bunker to fall three behind. Although Lynch bogeyed 15, Babbage could not capitalise and that left him needing to win 16 to keep the match alive.
Lynch failed to find the green with his tee shot at Calamity and Babbage this time took advantage and made par to take the final down the penultimate hole.
That was as far as they went. Lynch found the fairway with his drive down the hill on 17 and pocketed a regulation par from 30 feet to take the title.
“I didn’t play great in the semi-final, kind of scraped it around and holed a few putts but in the final I played a lot better,” added Ian.

“Kieran threw a few birdies at me and I was playing par golf. If he birdied a hole to beat me I didn’t feel too bad about that but if he bogeyed my solid par stuff was winning me the hole.

“I made a mental error on 16, I should never have been anywhere near that flag. I should have been up the left all day but I almost had an unbelievable up and down from the valley in front of the green. That would have been a nice way to win but I’ll take doing it with a par on 17 any day.”
In the morning semi-finals Lynch saw off leading qualifier, Matthew McClean (Malone) 2&1 while Babbage finally beat Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) on the 19th hole.
Next year’s North of Ireland Championship will retain the same date but will move to Castlerock and Portstewart to accommodate final preparations for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

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.”

DDF Irish Open champion Jon Rahm eyes up major breakthrough at Birkdale

July 11, 2017

Jon Rahm celebrates DDF Irish Open success

Jon Rahm won the DDF Irish Open at a canter on Sunday.
Honestly, rules controversies aside, it was men against boys stuff at Portstewart.
“I’ve never played my best golf. To actually play my best golf that I can remember till this day and shoot 24-under on this golf course and win it by six, man, that is not something I would have believed I was capable of,” said Rahm
“I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of, and it’s a really, really special day.”
The new world number eight is still just 22-years-old. That’s the same age as Gavin Moynihan, who played out of his skin on Sunday, compiling a final round 64 to finish tied for 14th and earn the biggest pay cheque of his career.
In comparison, Rahm is already at the stage when he doesn’t need to worry about money. He has already topped the €2.5m euro mark on the European Tour alone. It’s major titles he wants now.
“I said at the beginning of the week, even before the tournament started, that I haven’t played — again, I haven’t played my best golf on links golf courses,” he added.
“There was always something else. And to play the way I did here, it proves to me I can perform properly on a links golf course.
“And that’s what I’ve got to take to The Open. I know now that I have what it takes. Before that, there was a little bit of doubt in my mind but now I know that I have what it takes to win a tournament on a links golf course.
“The Open Championship, it’s a little different deal just because a major championship will be set up probably harder than this week was. But nevertheless, I know I can read the putts right, and I know I can interpret the wind and I can hit the shots and I can manage myself around the golf course properly enough to have a chance to win The Open.
“Will that happen? I don’t know. But I’m going to try to enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed this week.”

Irish Open Day One – Relaxed McDowell starts well at Portstewart

July 7, 2017

Jon Rahm

GRAEME McDowell admits he has let his frustrations get the better of him this season but a return to familiar surroundings paid off at Portstewart yesterday.
A five-under par 67 left the Portrush native trailing round one leaders, American Daniel Im and Frenchman Benjamin Hebert by three shots at the DDF Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
“It’s been frustrating for all the right reasons because I’ve been playing well,” said Graeme.
“I’ve been walking away on Sunday nights not feeling like I got enough out of the week but that’s a better frustration than when you just know you’re not playing well.
“The game’s not been far away, and you know, perhaps it’s a week like this week that can give me that little bit of spark and that little bit of inspiration to really kick on for the summer.

“I’m really pleased with that start, and I’m looking forward to getting back it tomorrow.”

Starting at the 10th, Graeme reached three under quickly with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 16th but dropped shots at the 17th and 18th saw him turn in one under 35.
“It would have been easy to get frustrated at that point but I hit a beautiful shot into the second and made a couple of nice putts on that nine and turned a mediocre day into a decent day,” he added.
“I was happy with the way I rolled it on the greens generally and I hit a lot of quality shots.”
The 2010 US Open champion played some fine golf on his back nine, collecting four birdies at the second, fourth, sixth and eighth, to end the day in a share of ninth.
Irish duo, Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington are a shot further back after a day of low scoring on the North Coast.
“I definitely feel like it’s the least I deserved out there. I felt like I played great,” said Shane.
“I’m pretty happy with that. Four under in the first round is pretty good. I’m not going to complain.”
Harrington described his round as, ‘a nice, decent score’.
“I played average, had a few chances and if things had gone my way, I certainly could have made it a few more under par but I think four-under is an ok reflection of the day.
“The likelihood is you’ve got to be focusing on 20-under par or more this week, so I need some better scores later on in the week.
“If we get some wind, that will obviously defend the course but at the moment, with beautiful conditions, these guys are good, they are going to shoot low scores.”
A pair of 64’s for Im and Hebert established the course record at Portstewart and gave the unlikely duo – with a combined world ranking of 796 – a one-shot lead over Jon Rahm, Oliver Fisher and Matthew Southgate.

Kilpatrick to realise Irish Open ambition at Portstewart

June 28, 2017

Richard Kilpatrick

Banbridge professional, Richard Kilpatrick, will realise a long-held ambition when he plays in next week’s DDF Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
Richard earned his place in the Irish Open field by finishing sixth in the PGA in Ireland 2016 Order of Merit.
He will be joined at Portstewart by Damien McGrane, David Higgins, Colm Moriarty, Neil O’Briain and Simon Thornton
“I can’t wait. The crowds, the buzz, the field that is being assembled. I can’t wait to tee it up, let it go and see what happens. It will be some test,” said the Banbridge GC assistant.
“I had the chance to play in the Irish Open as an amateur but it often clashed with the Brabazon Trophy and the GUI would send us over to England to compete in that instead.
“It means a lot to get to play in my first Irish Open up here (Northern Ireland) and at Portstewart as well. My aunt has a place in the town and I played the course a lot as an amateur.
“Even now, during the winter and when I can in the summer months I try to get up and play. The club professional, Neil Graham, has been very good in accommodating me.”
Richard turned professional in 2007 after winning the East of Ireland Championship and helping Ireland collect the European Team Championship title.
He spent the best part of eight years playing on the Challenge Tour, Alps Tour and EuroPro Tour before opting to follow the PGA route.
He has performed impressively on the PGA in Ireland circuit in recent seasons and has two wins to his name in 2017 at the PGA Irish Club Pro-Am and the Ruddy Cup for Young Professionals.
And whilst he may be inexperienced in terms of playing at the highest level, he may have pulled off a masterstroke when is comes to hiring a caddy for the week.
Former college team mate and major winning LPGA caddy, David Jones, will lug Richard’s bag around Portstewart during tournament week.
Jones, who was formerly the PGA professional at Bushfoot GC, also happens to be a member at Portstewart GC and has cleared his schedule to caddy for Richard in the Irish Open.
“I’ve known Davy for years. I was starting my first year of college in America at the University of Toledo just as he was finishing his studies there. He was the groomsman at my wedding last December ” added Richard.

“The thing for me will be getting used to the atmosphere, to the grandstands and the corporate boxes. I’ve played a few rounds up there recently trying to familiarise myself with the place and how it will look during tournament week.”

That’s not something Damien McGrane will have to worry about. The Kells man has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt. McGrane topped the Order of Merit last year and also won the Irish PGA Championship. He is leading the way again in 2017 and if his competitive instincts take over he is capable of making an impact at Portstewart.
You can put Simon Thornton into the same bracket. A winner on the European Tour in 2013 (Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open), Simon is still returning to full fitness following surgery to his feet at the start of the year.
“I think I’ve only missed one [Irish Open] in recent years. It is a great event and you get used to playing in them but this will be a bit different now that’s it’s part of the Rolex Series,” said the 40-year-old.
“For us, as PGA guys, you have to try and blank all that out. You can’t really start thinking about the money that is on offer. You have to focus on those first two rounds and if you can make the cut great, then try and do as well as you can.”

A longer version of this article appeared in the July edition of Irish Golfer Magazine

Harrington – “I’m different, I’m special. I’m very special.”

April 30, 2017

Padraig Harrington


Padraig Harrington leans back in his chair. He has spent 15 minutes discussing Tiger Woods and whether he will ever return to anything like his best after his latest back surgery.

While refusing to rule out the prospect of Woods winning again, he concedes that any player reaching his 40s and with a 20-year career under his belt will find it hard to remain ‘mentally focused’.
And then one of the assembled scribes pipes up; “What about you, what’s your motivation?”
“I’m different. I’m special. I’m very special,” claims the 45-year-old with a smile who just happens to be recovering from neck surgery.
“I actually believe I’m in a great place, I do. I think I’m aware of the difficulties with that but you know, I always want to be out there on my own and try and do things different and being different. That’s what’s gotten me where I am.”

You can’t argue with that fact. Harrington has always walked his own path and he is genuinely convinced that he can be a factor in future majors even if that totally contradicts the argument he’s just outlined.
He added; “Yeah, I’m aware of the difficulty of staying motivated. This is my 20th year, and to be honest right now, you would have said that I followed the path exactly that I just described of all the other players.
“I started off, built myself up, won my big tournaments, played okay and then tailed off and have won a couple of events at the end of my 20 years like everybody else. And that’s why I kind of think Tiger is going to have a couple of wins.
“Golf is great. It always throws a win out. It always gives you something later on. It would be very easy to say with me winning the Honda (2015) and me winning in Portugal (2016) was that, here you go, here’s one at the end of your career, thanks very much.

“But I believe I’m different and I have to believe. Even if I’m not, I have to believe I’m different. I have to convince myself that there’s more in me and I really do feel very strongly about where my own game is at.”

A trapped nerve in his neck forced Harrington into surgery back in March and with his recovery going well, he is targeting a return to action in time for the Irish Open at Portstewart and the Open Championship at Birkdale, scene of his 2008 success.
“I’ve got another five weeks before I play. It’s about getting the right preparation, the right type of practice done,” added Padraig.
“I think my first event is going to be Wentworth [BMW PGA Championship] in five weeks’ time. There’s no doubt that all my practice when I do get going, will be more thinking about The Open Championship, plus obviously, the Irish Open is two weeks before that.”
And he continued, “Believe it or not I have never played Portstewart. Strangely enough, as an amateur, I never got there. For whatever reason, I missed out.
“I know the course at Portstewart is great, everyone has told me about it and the venue is fantastic, everyone will be into it, there will be a buzz about it and that really adds to a golf tournament when there is more to do around the event.
“We play a lot of events and we can be in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the sticks and no-one knows that a golf tournament is on. That won’t be the case up north. Everyone will be into it, there will be an excitement and a buzz which really helps the players.”
Padraig was speaking at an event hosted by the R&A at Dun Laoghaire GC

Olympic champion Justin Rose set for Irish Open

April 25, 2017


Olympic Champion Justin Rose has added his name to the list of world-class stars lining up to play in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart Golf Club from July 6-9.
The Englishman will be playing in Northern Ireland for the first time in his professional career. His last Irish Open appearance was back in 2010 at Killarney when Ross Fisher claimed the title.
The 36-year-old finished tied for 44th in Co Kerry but has since become a Major Champion – winning the 2013 US Open – as well as securing Olympic Gold at the Rio 2016 Games.
The nine-time European Tour winner came agonisingly close to a second Major title at the recent Masters Tournament, losing out to Sergio Garcia in a play-off at Augusta National.

That impressive performance came on the back of a solid opening five months of the season that included a second place finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Tickets to watch Rose attempt to dethrone the reigning champion and home hero Rory McIlroy can be purchased at http://www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com
“I haven’t played the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for a while so I’m excited about going back,” said Rose, currently ranked eighth in the world.
“With Rory’s involvement the last couple of years the event has gone from strength to strength and being part of the Rolex Series will give it an even bigger boost.
“Irish fans are always a lot of fun to play in front of, it’s always good ‘craic’ out there! We’ll all enjoy the tournament and it’s obviously great preparation for The Open Championship too.
“I think it’s very good to get some links golf under your belt before The Open. Playing the Scottish Open the week before is a great idea and also playing two weeks before is great because you can have a week before to fine tune.

“The fact that we have these options running into The Open is fantastic and they are top quality events which will hopefully attract not just the top European players, but maybe some players from across the pond in the USA as well.”

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at http://www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com, and begin at £20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing £40 and day tickets for the weekend costing £45.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just £100 (a saving of £90 over the course of the five days).
Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 16 and 21, while children under 16 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
To get a full seated view of all of the drama at the 18th green, grandstand tickets cost an additional £11.50 for Thursday and Friday, £16.50 for Saturday and £21.50 for Sunday.
Official Hospitality packages are also available on the ticketing page, or alternatively contact the European Tour’s dedicated Hospitality Sales Team, who will be happy to answer any queries and discuss the various hospitality options, on enquiries@europeantourhospitality.com or +44 (0) 1344 840681.

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.

The secret to winning the ‘North’? Better get your putting right

July 11, 2016
Andrew Spence, Principal Optometrist at Cathedral Eye Clinic with Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 2015

Andrew Spence, Principal Optometrist at Cathedral Eye Clinic with Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 2015

What exactly does it take to win one of Ireland’s big ‘four’ provincial championships?
Will a mix of luck, stamina and a stellar short game give you the edge on your competitors?
As the North of Ireland Championship got underway at Royal Portrush today, the 2015 champion, John Ross Galbraith outlined the key elements to winning at the famous North Coast venue.
“It’s tough mentally when you get towards the end of the week,” said John Ross speaking on the NI Golf Podcast.
“You obviously have to be playing well, playing good golf.
“I think you need to putt really well all week, that’s key around Portrush. You can reach many of the greens in regulation handy enough. It’s just who is going to hole the important putts then.
“Looking back to last year, I putted quite well on the way to winning.”

John Ross beat Rosslare’s Gary Collins last year in a final played in storm-like conditions.
It was a victory that meant a great deal for the Whitehead golfer.
“It was amazing. Growing up it was the one I always wanted to win. When you’ve been up and seen all the guys like Rory [McIlroy] and Shane Lowry playing in it,” he added.
“It was great to add my name to the list of winners. Being a ‘local’ guy it was great to have family and friends there to support me during the week. It’s one that I will never forget.”
Greenore’s Colin Wilton led qualifying at Royal Portrush with an opening 70 on the opening day of qualifying.
The best score of the day came from Devin Morley (Oughterard) who fired a 68 on the Strand Course at Portstewart.
Scores:
https://www.golfnet.ie/results/329/north-of-ireland-amateur-open