Posts Tagged ‘rory mcilroy’

Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama adds Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to schedule

June 11, 2017

JAPANESE superstar Hideki Matsuyama will make his first appearance at a regular European Tour event when the world number four tees it up at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation from July 6-9.
The 25-year-old has become one of the hottest properties in the game following three victories on the US PGA Tour, including the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
It’s a big boost to the tournament to have another bright young talent committed to playing at Portstewart alongside two other world top 10 players in Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
Matsuyama is considered one of Japan’s best bets to finally make that Major Championship breakthrough.In his last seven appearances in golf’s big four, he has claimed three top tens and two more top 20 finishes, while he also finished in the top ten at both The Open Championship and US Open Championship back in his first year as a professional back in 2013.
His form has tailed off somewhat in recent months and he admitted going into the recent Memorial Tournament – where he finished tied for 45th – that, “my swing isn’t where I’d like it to be and I’m not putting very well” but he will still go into this week’s US Open as one of the favourites.
He said: “I am really looking forward to playing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time. I have heard great things about the tournament and about the Northern Irish fans.

“It is important to play some links golf ahead of The Open Championship and I’m sure Portstewart will be the perfect preparation for me.

“I know Rory puts a lot into this tournament and he has done an incredible job raising its profile. I’m really excited and I know it will be a great week.”
Matsuyama’s compatriot Hideto Tanihara has also confirmed his participation at Portstewart, with the World Number 47 making his debut at the event having finished in a share of third at the very first Rolex Series event – the BMW PGA Championship – two weeks ago.

Tickets to see Matsuyama, Tanihara and the numerous other superstars at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at 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.

 

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McIlroy waits until weekend to make decision on BMW PGA Championship

May 18, 2017

Rory McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championship in 2014

Rory McIlroy will not make a decision about playing in next week’s BMW PGA Championship until early next week.
The world number two aggravated a rib injury at The Players Championship and had an MRI scan on Monday to check the extent of the damage.
“It’s just a matter of taking a bit of time to recover and rest,” said Rory speaking by phone at a DDF Irish Open preview event at Portstewart GC.
“Hopefully I will start hitting wedges by the weekend then I will be in a position to play Wentworth next week. I will only make that decision after I start hitting balls again at the weekend. Fingers crossed that I will be there but we have to wait and see at the minute.”
McIlroy confirmed that one of world golf’s most exciting young talents, John Rahm, will play in this year’s Irish Open.
The world number 12 will join defending champion McIlroy, Justin Rose and a host of the world’s top golfers at Portstewart, from July 6-9, in what will be the third of eight world class events as part of the European Tour’s new Rolex Series.
“He has already proved that he can go a long way in the game,” said Rory about the Spaniard.

“He is so young, very talented, hits the ball a mile, he is not afraid of anyone and believes in himself. He has all the attributes to be a major winner.”

Jon Rahm

Rahm has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past 12 months, bursting onto the professional scene with six top 25 finishes in nine starts on the PGA Tour last season before his breakthrough win in the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
He became a European Tour member at the start of March after breaking into the world’s top 50, and finished tied third on his first start in the WGC-Mexico Championship before reaching the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he took World Number One Dustin Johnson to last hole.
“I have some great memories as a kid watching the Spanish players competing in the big European Tour events on TV and it will be special to be able to now play in them myself,” said the 22-year-old.
“Obviously Seve, José Maria and Sergio have all won the Irish Open over the years, so it will be great to try and follow in their footsteps at Portstewart. Also, I’m really pleased to support Rory and everything he is trying to do for the event through his Foundation.
“The Rolex Series is a fantastic idea on the European Tour and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. I’m also looking forward to playing a different style of golf on the links of Portstewart which will be valuable preparation for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale as well.”

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.

The clock is ticking, don’t miss out, grab your tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

March 28, 2017

The countdown has officially begun and with only 100 days left until the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation tees off at Portstewart, Tourism NI is urging fans to book their tickets and accommodation now to avoid disappointment later.
With confirmation that former winners Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry will be lining up alongside Rory McIlroy at this year’s tournament, Tourism NI Director of Events and Business Support Aine Kearney is urging fans to book their tickets now before it’s too late.
Aine said, “Following the success of the Irish Open in 2012 (Royal Portrush) and 2015 (Royal Co Down) with the support of the European Tour and the Rory Foundation we are gearing up for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2017 to be the biggest and best Irish Open yet. Tens of thousands of tickets have already been sold, with only 100 days to go to the tournament and with big names still to be announced we are confident this event will sell out.

“The potential of golf tourism is huge with the average golf visitor spending over £1700 per trip. Tourism NI wants to grow total revenue from golf tourism from £32 million to £50 million by 2020 and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is the perfect opportunity to showcase our world class golf courses to golfing audiences around the world.”

Aine Kearney, Tourism NI Director of Business Support and Events and Simon Alliss, Irish Open Championship Director, put in some practice at Portstewart Golf Club

Expectations are high that upwards of 100,000 spectators will attend the tournament at Portstewart Golf Club from the 6th to the 9th July.
Simon Alliss, the European Tour’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Championship Director, said: “The countdown is really now on for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July and there are a host of exciting announcements to be made in the coming weeks and months.
“So we would urge golf fans across the island of Ireland to get booking as we have already had two sell-out Irish Opens on Northern Irish soil and we expect this one to be no different.
“A percentage of all ticket sales go to the Rory Foundation to help make children’s lives better, so all those purchasing tickets will also be contributing to a great cause.”
The Rory Foundation today announced that Sport Changes Life will be the primary beneficiary of this year’s tournament.
Sport Changes Life work in disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland to help young people find a path to a brighter future with the help of international student-athletes, the Victory Scholars.
The money raised by the Rory Foundation for Sport Changes Life will go towards their eHoops programme. eHoops is a 24 week programme designed for teenagers aged between 14 and 19 years of age.
The programme is created to mentor young people through difficult times in their lives and address social issues of concern with the aim to help the young people with their education, job search, health and mental well-being through the aid of the Victory Scholars.
Sport Changes Life are currently aiming to establish the programme in Coleraine, Ballymena, Portrush, Londonderry and Belfast.
Other charities in the region who will also benefit, will be announced over the coming months.

For more information please visit https://www.discovernorthernireland.com/irish-open-2017/
To buy tickets to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation please visithttp://dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com/

Olympian Stephanie Meadow faces 2017 with renewed confidence

January 12, 2017
Olympian Stephanie Meadow has signed a deal with Investec Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Olympian Stephanie Meadow has signed a deal with Investec
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Stephanie Meadow will launch her 2017 LPGA campaign next month with renewed confidence and the support of a major new sponsor.
The 24-year-old Olympian, born in Jordanstown, but residing in America for almost a decade has penned a deal with Investec in Ireland, a leading specialist bank and wealth and investment firm.
“I’m not Rory McIlroy. People probably don’t realise how expensive it is to play at this level,” said Stephanie.
“Last season cost me in the region of $100,000 by the time I’d paid for a caddy, coach, tournament entries, hotels etc etc.
“But you have to see it as a long-term investment and that is why sponsorship is vital.
“Investec have already done more than I expected, they have been very supportive and importantly it feels great to finally have an Irish sponsor. To be backed by a firm that is committed to my goals and actually thinks I can help their business is very special.”
Stephanie Meadow 12/1/2017Investec have a track record of supporting sportspeople and teams from an early stage of their career. In Ireland, their sponsorships include former Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, who has been an ambassador for 25 years.
Commenting on the deal Michael Cullen, CEO, Investec Ireland said: “I am delighted to have Stephanie on board and I look forward to building a fantastic working relationship with her in the coming year.
“It is hoped our support will help to nurture Stephanie’s fantastic talent and help her to continue to compete at the top of her game.”
Stephanie will focus all her efforts on the LPGA once again this season hoping to build on a fine end to 2016 that was kick-started by her Olympic experience in Rio.
“It’s a daft game,” said the Jordanstown born golfer who turns 25 later this month.

“If you are struggling with confidence it only takes one shot, one round to get things moving in the right direction.”

Stephanie’s moment came on the second day of competition in Brazil when she signed for a five under par 66.
“My form had started to turn upwards a bit before the Olympics but that kind of topped it off,” added Stephanie.
“That was the first time I’d put together a good round against the top girls in a while. Being able to do that in a high- pressure situation was a bit of like, ‘ok, I’m back!’.
“I had been playing well at home from March/April time and I was waiting, waiting, asking myself ‘why is this not happening in tournaments?’ and then finally, it happened, it was perfect timing.
“You can only work so hard without seeing results, so that was a key moment for me last season.”

Stephanie forced her way into the public consciousness by finishing third in the US Open on her professional debut in 2014, but the death of her father [Robert] in May 2015 hit her hard. She struggled to concentrate on the course and lost form and confidence.
She added, “I’m not going to lie, last season was no fun early on. I don’t care who you are, playing like I was playing is no fun.

“I would be on the course, I would be trying to focus and I just couldn’t – my mind was so filled with other stuff. When you are in a constant state of emotional distress, you can’t perform well, it doesn’t matter who you are.”

It’s taken her the best part of 18 months to finally feel like she has turned a corner and she’s now looking to force her way back up the rankings.
“Personally and as a golfer, I feel like I’m coming out of a rough spell,” she added.
“What happened [the death of her father] will always affect me and be with me. But there comes a time when although it doesn’t hurt less, you learn how to deal with it.”
Currently ranked 259th in the world, Stephanie is hoping to start her LPGA 2017 season at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February (13-19). Her tour ranking of 148 [full field events are 144] should ensure she gets plenty of starts and she will also focus on qualifying for the five women’s majors.
“I would like to be in the position where I make it into the Asian swing [at the start of October],” she said
“That’s top 60 on the money list and a realistic goal if I get to play in 17/18 events.
“I am a lot more confident now and if I get on a roll, you just never know. In the future, I obviously want to be higher than that but start small and keep improving.”

Damien Mooney beats home-town favourite Michael Bannon at Ardglass

November 23, 2016

ARDGLASS GOLF CLUB
NOW that Rory McIlroy’s season has come to an end, coach Michael Bannon has time to show his own skills in competition.
On Tuesday (Nov 22), he made a rare appearance on the PGA Northern Branch tour at his former amateur base, Ardglass.
However, the ex-Bangor club pro had to settle for second place behind Damian Mooney who mixed birdies with bogeys in the Ping Ulster Golfers’ Grand Prix to post a one-under-par 69, two strokes ahead of second-placed Bannon.
The winner stormed to three-under-par after seven holes with birdie threes at the second, fourth and seventh. His short game came into play as he rolled in a 20-footer, after a nine iron to the green at the second, drove the green at the fourth and got down from 15 feet on the seventh. The run ended when he missed the eighth green and dropped a shot.
On the back nine, Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast) had only two pars as he pencilled in three birdies and four bogeys. He made light work of the par five 11th for birdie, reached the green with a three iron for a birdie three at the 13th and then got up and down from a bunker at the par five 15th to record his sixth birdie of the day.
His dropped shots at the 10th, when he three-putted and he missed the green at the short 12 and par four holes 14 and 16, failing to get up and down each time.
In the amateurs’ gross section, Joe Crangle (Fortwilliam) and local Ray Madine shared 31 points with the Fortwilliam one-handicapper taking first place on countback.
Kirkistown’s Gary Smyth won the top nett award on 38 points, playing off eight, while Damian Mooney made it double delight by partnering Lurgan six-handicapper Colin McKee to victory in the team butterball event with 41 points.
Next Tuesday, there will be a Ping Ulster Golfers’ Alliance outing at Ballycastle.

Full scores – GP Ardglass

Selected results
Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Grand Prix at Ardglass
Professionals: 69 (-1) – D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast).
71 – M Bannon (Bangor).
72 – B McElhinney (North West), P Collins (Galgorm Castle),
74 – M Weir (Spa), G Graham (Groomsport Golf Centre), A Cathers (Ardglass).
Amateurs: Gross, 31 pts – J Crangle 1 (Fortwilliam) … 1st;
31 – R Madine 4 (Ardglass) … 2nd.
Nett, 38 pts – G Smyth 8 (Kirkistown Castle).
37 – A Verner 7 (Clandeboye).
Team Betterball: 41 pts – Pro D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast) & Amateur Colin McKee 6 (Lurgan).

With thanks to Tony McGee

Rory McIlroy on the right track with new putting approach

September 9, 2016
Rory McIlroy celebrates Deutsche Bank Championship success

Rory McIlroy celebrates Deutsche Bank Championship success

Rory McIlroy reminded everyone why he remains the most exciting golfer in the world by coming from six shots behind to win the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The 27-year-old turned his 2016 PGA Tour season around in spectacular fashion with a superb performance in Boston that owed everything to finally finding some touch on the greens.
By his own admission Rory’s putting has been poor all summer. He tried a change of grip but that didn’t produce the results he hoped for and then finally, after a ‘pathetic’ display at the US PGA Championship, he sought out a new coach in Phil Kenyon.
Kenyon has worked with the likes of Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen and now Rory appears to be on the right track having made a slight adjustment to his grip after round one of the Deutsche Bank in Boston.
“I felt on Friday there was a few putts that I missed right, and I felt like my right hand was a little too much on the side of the grip instead of on top of it, so I felt like the clubface was opening just a little bit on my putts and I missed a few right,” said Rory who insisted his putting is still very much a work in progress.

“So the little tweak was I just sort of placed my right hand just a little bit more on top of the grip instead of to the side, helping keep the face square through impact and starting the ball online and it’s helped. It’s a very simple fix.”

Simple it may have been but the Holywood golfer began the tournament ranked 130th in strokes gained putting and 165th in total putting. He finished the week seventh in strokes gained putting and first in putting average.
Which begs a number of questions. How did Rory manage to turn things around so quickly? Is Phil Kenyon some sort of magician and is it simply to do with the fact that Rory switched from using a Nike putter to a Scotty Cameron model?

“Well firstly I’m not overly surprised to see him win because after all, he is Rory McIlroy,” said Greenacres based coach, Johnny Foster.
“When you put Rory’s natural ability with the fact that he has putted well in the past and then add Phil’s new guidance that sort of display isn’t beyond him.”
A member of the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU) High Performance team, Foster spent some time with Kenyon in the past and has great admiration for the 42-year-old English man.
“I met Phil for the first time about seven years ago. Michael Hoey was good enough to let me come over and spend some time watching them work together,” added Foster.
“He’s a really good guy, intelligent, a very effective coach and now has a stable of world class players.
“He was always ahead of his time, a modern coach who embraced and utilised technology. He almost takes an MRI of what the student is doing on the greens and then builds specific practice drills to address the issues that have been highlighted.”

Donal Scott

Donal Scott

Nor should the change of putter be overlooked as an important element in Rory’s improvement on the greens according to another of the ILGU’s High Performance coaches, Donal Scott.
A putting specialist, Scott believes that a change of equipment can have psychological and practical benefits.
“It varies from player to player but with some people a new putter can significantly change aim,” said Scott who is currently coaching Challenge Tour players Chris Selfridge and Gary Hurley.
“How the player looks down at the putter, the dimensions of it and the head style can have a pretty big impact.”
According to Donal, there’s more to gaining confidence on the greens than simply seeing a few putts holed.
“From my experience with players, the frustration usually comes from not understanding why certain putts are missing,” he said.
“There needs to be a certain level of technical acumen to draw confidence from. Once you understand why certain putts do what they do, that’s when people gain confidence because then they know why a putt has missed and what they need to do to change it.
“I don’t know what Phil and Rory are working on specifically, but I’m sure that having a better understanding of why certain putts react the way they do has given Rory some confidence and that has translated into the performance you saw at the weekend.”

 

 

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

Captain Clarke admits his game isn’t up to tackling US Open challenge at Oakmont

June 10, 2016
Darren's focus has been on retaining the cup, not on his own game

Darren’s focus has been on retaining the cup, not on his own game

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke has withdrawn from next week’s US Open at Oakmont.
Clarke’s decision to opt out means that Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are the only home representatives left in the event which gets under way on June 13th.
The Dungannon golfer, who has not recorded a top-10 finish on the European Tour since winning the Open Championship in 2011, said in a statement: “I’m currently dedicating all of my time to our preparations for the Ryder Cup and unfortunately the US Open is not the place to be when your game isn’t 100 per cent.

“I’m very sorry to miss Oakmont but I’m sure it will be a brilliant week. I’ll certainly be watching very closely.”

However poor his form over the last 18 months it must have been a difficult decision for Darren to give up his spot based on the knowledge that his game simply wasn’t up to the task of tackling Oakmont.
Mind you it could well be a case of discretion being the better part of valour considering some of the comments by players this week. Phil Mickelson played a practice round at Oakmont on Monday and Tuesday, describing it as the ‘hardest golf course we’ve ever played.’
Clarke has missed the cut in the US Open for the last three years but the 47-year-old briefly showed some signs of life at the Irish Open where he made the cut, eventually finishing tied for 43rd.
Unfortunately, he then travelled to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and carded two rounds of 79/77 to miss the cut by a wide margin.
While it could be argued that Darren’s form has been on the wane for some time and certainly since his dramatic Open success, it’s clear that the European Ryder Cup captaincy and playing competitively do not go hand-in-hand.
When Paul McGinley was in charge he made just three cuts on the European Tour between November 2013 and August 2014. Granted the Dubliner was hampered by injury during that period but it’s worth noting that in his first event back after the Ryder Cup – the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – he comfortably made the cut and finished tied for 43rd.
Meanwhile, over in the US, Clarke’s rival, Davis Love III, has appeared surprisingly unaffected by captaincy issues. The 52-year-old made a string of cuts during February, March and April including finishing tied for 42nd at The Masters.
At this stage the captaincy affliction appears to be purely a European phenomenon.