Posts Tagged ‘rory mcilroy’

Dunne looking forward to ‘fifth major’ at Ballyliffin

June 7, 2018

Paul Dunne is hoping to become the latest home winner of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation when he returns to the Rolex Series event, which he regards as important as any of the four Major Championships.
The Wicklow player burst onto the global golf scene in 2015 when he shared the lead heading into the final round of The Open Championship at St Andrews, and he has been living up to the billing as Ireland’s next golfing star having claimed his maiden victory in just his second season on the European Tour.
Now the 25 year old is hoping to add to his British Masters supported by Sky Sports title by claiming a glorious home triumph when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – the fourth Rolex Series event of the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai – is played at Ballyliffin Golf Club for the first time from July 5-8.
Should he win in County Donegal, Dunne would join an illustrious list of home winners. Rory McIlroy became the eighth Irishman to claim the title when he stormed to a spectacular victory in 2016, while Shane Lowry’s emotional triumph as a young amateur in 2009 will also live long in the memory.
Two years prior to that, Padraig Harrington had bridged a 25-year gap when he emerged victorious from a sudden-death playoff for a success which proved a precursor for a famous maiden Major win at The 2007 Open Championship in Carnoustie.
Dunne is now determined to get his hands on the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy and put his name alongside some of the greats of Irish golf.
“The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is the tournament we look forward to the most,” said Dunne.
“To win it would be right up there with the four Majors for me personally.

“I think Ballyliffin will be a great test of a venue this year. It’s always good to play in front of the home crowd and the support is always incredible. They always keep you in it and they provide a nice buzz.

“It’s going to be another great week and hopefully the weather holds up nicely. If I can give myself chances over the next few years to win it I would be delighted. Hopefully, this year gives me one of those chances, but we’ll see.”
If Dunne is to earn a second European Tour victory in just under a month’s time, he will have to overcome a star-studded field which includes the defending Champion Jon Rahm of Spain, the tournament host McIlroy and his fellow 2016 Ryder Cup players Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett and Chris Wood.
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing €32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110.

Sunday tickets for the 18th grandstand at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation have sold out completely, and fans hoping to get exclusive front-row seats for the prestigious Rolex Series event are now being urged to act quickly with limited tickets remaining.

Info courtesy of European Tour


It’s a brave new professional world for Leona and Lisa Maguire

June 7, 2018

The Maguire twins launched themselves into the pro ranks in some style yesterday ahead of Friday’s debut at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve waited to turn pro since we were little kids. This first week at ShopRite, couldn’t really ask for a better start,” said Leona, the former leading amateur player in the world who was No.1 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record 131 consecutive weeks.
Lisa and Leona have agreed a management deal with Modest! Golf and will be sponsored by KPMG with other brand associations including Allianz, PUMA Golf clothing and PING golf equipment.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the 23-year-old sisters from Co Cavan who have only recently finished their four-year stint at Duke University.
“It’s been a quick transition. Went from Stillwater [venue for the NCAA finals] a few weeks ago, obviously wrapped up our careers with Duke there. We had an incredible four years. It’s been exciting trying to get all the pieces put together and ready to go this week,” added Leona.
The duo have grown up in the public eye, especially at home in Ireland, so it was no surprise to see them handling Wednesday’s press conference with relative ease.
The challenge ahead is to make the adjustment to playing for a living and that may not be plain sailing, particularly as the pair will be playing different schedules over the coming months.

“I have a full Symetra Tour card, so the next few months and weeks I will be predominately focused on that to try to get my LPGA card for next season. Probably a few LPGA invites along the way, but predominantly focusing on the Symetra Tour for the near future,” added Leona.
Lisa said; “Obviously this week is great to get the invite from ShopRite, the two of us here together. I know Modest! have been working really hard especially on my behalf especially to secure more invites. Obviously, I don’t have the same sort of status as Leona does right now.
“We’ve secured some Symetra Tour invites for the coming weeks, so I’m looking forward to playing in those, doing well in those, and securing more status kind of going forward.”
Lisa tees off on Friday from the 10th tee alongside Natalie Gulbis and Taylor Totland at 12.48pm (GMT).
Leona also tees off from the 10th at 5.48pm (GMT) paired with Maddie McCrary and Lauren Coughlin.

“I’m thrilled and very proud that Leona and Lisa have become the first Irish players to sign with the Modest! Golf management stable,” said singer/songwriter and Modest! Golf director Niall Horan.
“They’ve both represented Ireland at junior and senior amateur level with distinction and we’re confident that they’ll take the professional LPGA circuit in their stride and raise the profile of Irish golf even further.”

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

May 20, 2018

Tom McKibbin

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

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

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

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

Ballyliffin ready to make the most of Dubai Duty Free Irish Open opportunity

May 13, 2018

TEEING OFF: John Farren, General Manager of Ballyliffin Golf Club, Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation, Simon Alliss, the European Tour’s Championship Director of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Dubai Duty Free, Des Smyth, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Tournament Ambassador and Martin Donnelly, Business Development Manager of Failte Ireland.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Ballyliffin GC will roll out the red carpet for the great and good of the European Tour when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation touches down in Co Donegal from July 5-8.
The European Tour is breaking new ground by taking the tournament to the North West of Ireland for the very first time.
“It is a big big deal for this part of the world,” said Ballyliffin GM, John Farren.
“We are very grateful that the Tour had the confidence to bring this event to the region.
“We are looking forward to it. We will seize this opportunity and we will be ready.”
Tournament Director, Simon Allis, described advance ticket sales as ‘encouraging’ insisting that no-one would be, ‘disappointed’ by the final figures attending the event.
Farren was bullish about the prospects of big crowds coming through the turnstiles, pointing to the likely support of thousands of fans from across the border.
He added; “Ballyliffin is held in very high esteem across Ireland. Our proximity to Northern Ireland means that it is very accessible and the Northern Ireland golfing fans, well, they travel to Irish Opens no matter where they are.

“This will be a new option, a new destination for people and the Irish Open is so much more than a golf event now. The European Tour and the sponsors have developed a festival atmosphere around the tournament.”

Rory will again headline the event with world number three Jon Rahm returning to defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion at Portstewart last year.
The event will enter a new era in 2019 with a rotation of tournament hosts featuring the biggest names in Irish golf. Four of Ireland’s most revered golfers – The 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley as well as Major winners Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell – will share the hosting duties with McIlroy, beginning with McGinley next year.

“Four years ago Rory decided he wanted to improve the lot of the Irish Open,” said Rory Foundation CEO, Barry Funston.
“We were very fortunate to have a terrific partner in Dubai Duty Free who bought into that vision straight away and over the years, the evolution of the tournament has been well documented.
“From the perspective of the Foundation, it has been terrific. We have raised in excess of three million dollars for charitable causes in areas around the host venues.
“There is a deliberate strategy of moving the event around Ireland and we think that is the right thing to do. Getting it to Ballyliffin is something Rory has spoken about for years and we are delighted that our four-year term is coming to an end at Ballyliffin, a course Rory holds in great affection.”
A venue for the 2019 staging has yet to be confirmed but Dubai Duty Free has agreed a four-year extension of its title sponsorship of the Irish Open taking the partnership through to 2022.

Will Jonathan Caldwell rise to the Challenge in 2018? Clandeboye golfer ready to go in Turkey

April 25, 2018

Jonathan Caldwell (pic via PGA Europro Tour)

It’s been a long time coming but Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell will finally get his Challenge Tour season underway on Thursday at the Turkish Airlines Challenge in Belek.
Caldwell secured his Challenge Tour card on the final day of the Europro Tour season back in October at the Sky Sports Tour Championship. A 15th place finish in Portugal saw him grab the fifth and final card on offer via the Tour’s Order of Merit.
Since then he’s had precious little competitive golf and he’s ready to get started.
“It’s been a long wait between tournaments but generally I have managed to stay patient and positive,” said Jonny.
“I played in the second stage of European Tour Q-School and narrowly missed out there and then in February, I went to Spain for a couple of weeks to play on the Evolve Tour.
“I managed to get a win over there but it was mostly about finding out what stage my game was at and what I needed to be working on.”
A long wet, cold winter hasn’t been particularly conducive to quality practice but the 33-year-old is determined to make an impact on the Challenge Tour this season.
After a number of years struggling to find his way as a professional, Jonny, a former leading amateur who played Walker Cup alongside Rory McIlroy at Royal County Down in 2007, is finally moving in the right direction again.
With the support of the Clandeboye members and some key sponsors – Wirefox, Woodgate Aviation and the Safety Advice Centre, Bangor – he has been freed from financial worries to focus on golf and has turned his fortunes around on the course over the last 18 months.

“My expectations are high. Hopefully, I will be competing at the top end of the leaderboard,” added Jonny.

“I feel that I have had some decent prep this winter considering the weather we have been dealing with. My game is in reasonably good shape and a couple of days in Turkey will hopefully help sharpen up the short game.

“My number one goal this year is to win and then to finish inside the top 70 which will guarantee my playing privileges for 2019.”
The Turkish Airlines Challenge is the third event of the Challenge Tour season which will include visits to Galgorm Castle for the NI Open in August and Concra Wood in Co.Monaghan for the Irish Challenge in September.
Joining Jonny in Turkey are Cormac Sharvin and Michael Hoey alongside a number of bright young Irish talents in Stuart Grehan, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan and Ruaidhri McGee.

Day Four – Master 2018 – Resolute Reed claims green jacket; Rory’s Grand Slam quest continues

April 9, 2018

2018 Masters Champion, Patrick Reed (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Patrick Reed claimed his maiden Major Championship title after holding off the charges of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to win the Masters Tournament.
Grand slam chasing Rory McIlroy entered the final day three shots behind the leader but he was never able to put any real pressure on the American and his challenge faded.
Loose off the tee and struggling on the greens Rory eventually signed for a two-over par 74 and finished the tournament in a tie for fifth.
“I played probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played here this week, it just wasn’t meant to be,” said Rory.
“Of course it’s frustrating and it’s hard to take any positives from it right now but at least I put myself in a position, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.
“For the last four years I’ve had top tens but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there, I didn’t quite do enough but I’ll still come back next year and try again.

“I think 100% I can come back and win here. I’ve played in two final groups in the last seven years, I’ve had five top tens, I play this golf course well. I just haven’t played it well enough at the right times.

“I can’t give a good answer as to what I can take from this into the future but I’ll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have done better.”
Although the Holywood golfer’s chances ended in disappointment, Augusta National still produced plenty of final day drama.

The 2015 Masters Champion Spieth was the first to test the nerve of the overnight leader Reed, threatening the course record with a remarkable streak of nine birdies in the opening 16 holes, including four in five from the 12th.
An unfortunate break on the final hole though, where his drive clipped the trees mid-air and dropped just short of 180 yards from the tee in the rough, spoiled his chances as a bogey five meant he had to settle for an eight-under 64 and a 13 under total.
Next up was Fowler, who birdied the last to post a 14 under total after a five under 67, but Reed stayed resilient the whole way through and a two-putt par at the last for a one under 71 was enough to clinch a one-stroke triumph on 15 under par.

“I knew it was going to be tough. Any time trying to close off a golf tournament is really hard, but to close off your first Major and to do it at a place that is so close to me,” said Reed.
“I knew that the lead was going to shrink at sometimes, I knew the lead could grow, it’s just the flows of golf. You just have to know how to handle it and the only way I felt like I could get that done was to make sure the putter was working.

“It was tough out there but to be able to make that putt on 14 and then to make the two-putt on 17, it just gave me that momentum going to 18 which in the past has given me so many issues.

“It’s almost impossible to put into words. Just to make the par on the last and watch the ball go in the hole and know that I’ve won my first Major. One of my huge goals this year was to not only contend in Majors but also get back in that winning circle. To do it in the first Major and finish off that drought, it just meant so much to me.”

Day Three – Masters 2018 – Rory trails Reed by three ahead of Sunday showdown

April 8, 2018

Rory McIlroy celebrates making eagle on the eighth hole during the third round of the 2018 Masters Tournament
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy will reprise their epic 2016 Ryder Cup clash at Hazeltine when they lock horns in the final group of the 2018 Masters.
The first Major of the season was billed as one of the most eagerly anticipated in many years and the event is certainly living up to the hype, especially on an enthralling moving day which saw Reed, McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood all shoot in the mid-60s.
Grand slam chasing Rory carded a bogey-free seven under par 65 to close to within three shots heading in to Sunday’s final round.
“It was a great day. I’m closer to the lead than I was starting off the day, which a bonus, especially when you see Patrick go out and shoot 67 and obviously play very well,” said Rory.

“I rode my luck a little bit out there – the chip-in on the eighth hole, finding my ball in the azaleas on 13, not the first time. Then hitting the tree on 18 and coming back in the fairway and making a birdie from that.

“I rode my luck a little bit out there today. Hopefully, I don’t have to rely on it too much tomorrow, but it was just a great day. To get myself into the final group, and have a chance to win another major, I’m excited. You couldn’t ask for much more out of today.”

Nine of the top 12 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are within the top 15 of the leaderboard after round three, but it was the World Number 24 Reed who stole the show and delighted the patrons with four birdies and two eagles helping him to a five under 67 and a 14 under total.
Five shots clear of the field after an eagle at the 15th, Reed suffered a bogey on the 16th hole soon after McIlroy had put the galleries into raptures with a closing birdie on the last.

“I think the biggest thing this week is just going out and playing golf. I’m trying not to allow the moment to take over me, really just go out and play some golf and just hit golf shots,” said Reed.

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball well enough, I feel like I’m putting well enough. I just need to go out and play the game and not worry about everything else and just play golf.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow. Obviously, we’re both playing really solid golf, and to be able to go into a final round on Sunday at the first major and go up against each other and go out and play some good golf, it’s going to be a lot of fun to go out there. But really, I’m just going to do my thing and stick to my game plan and go out and enjoy my Sunday.”
Fowler is five shots off Reed’s lead in third place on nine under par, while Rahm is one further back on eight under – both having signed for 67s.

202 P Reed (USA) 69 66 67,
205 R McIlroy (Nir) 69 71 65,
207 R Fowler (USA) 70 72 65,
208 J Rahm (Esp) 75 68 65,
209 H Stenson (Swe) 69 70 70,
210 B Watson (USA) 73 69 68, T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 72 66, M Leishman (Aus) 70 67 73,
211 J Spieth (USA) 66 74 71, J Thomas (USA) 74 67 70,
212 D Johnson (USA) 73 68 71,
213 J Rose (Eng) 72 70 71, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 71 71, C Smith (Aus) 71 72 70,
215 J Walker (USA) 73 71 71, T Finau (USA) 68 74 73, J Day (Aus) 75 71 69, C Hoffman (USA) 69 73 73, M Kuchar (USA) 68 75 72, B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 73 72,
216 S Kodaira (Jpn) 71 74 71, A Hadwin (Can) 69 75 72, F Molinari (Ita) 72 74 70, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 75 74 67, H Matsuyama (Jpn) 73 71 72, K Kisner (USA) 72 75 69, S Kim (Kor) 75 73 68, R Henley (USA) 73 72 71,
217 H Li (Chn) 69 76 72,
218 J Vegas (Ven) 77 69 72, A Scott (Aus) 75 73 70, D Berger (USA) 73 74 71, Z Johnson (USA) 70 74 74, R Moore (USA) 74 72 72, P Casey (Eng) 74 75 69,
219 W Simpson (USA) 76 73 70, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 69 76 74, F Couples (USA) 72 74 73, B Langer (Ger) 74 74 71,
220 T Woods (USA) 73 75 72, B Grace (RSA) 73 73 74, B Dechambeau (USA) 74 74 72,
221 X Schauffele (USA) 71 78 72, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 79 70 72, K Stanley (USA) 72 74 75, M Kaymer (Ger) 74 73 74,
222 T Hatton (Eng) 74 75 73, C Reavie (USA) 76 71 75, D Ghim (am) (USA) 72 76 74,
223 B Harman (USA) 73 74 76, P Mickelson (USA) 70 79 74, I Poulter (Eng) 74 75 74,
224 V Singh (Fij) 71 74 79,

Day Two – Masters 2018 – Reed leads, Rory five shots back

April 7, 2018

Henrik Stenson walks onto the 13th green during the second round of the 2018 Masters Tournament (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy will have to chase down US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed after the American carded nine birdies in a stunning six under 66 to lead by two heading into the weekend at the Masters Tournament.

Grand slam chasing Rory carded a second round 71 (-1) while Reed opened with three successive birdies and carried that momentum the whole way through to finish the day on a nine under par total.

“My game feels okay. I played really well on the back nine, especially I made three really good pars on ten, 11 and 12 and then I had chances all the way in,” said Rory.

“I’m a little frustrated that I’m not in the clubhouse at say, six or seven under, I missed two really good chances coming in. It was a tricky day. Anything under par was pretty good but I feel like I left a couple out there.”

Reed was three shots clear stepping into the 16th tee but a bogey on the famous par three opened the door for the chasing pack, which was led by second-placed Marc Leishman of Australia, who signed for a five under 67 to move to a seven under for the week thus far.

“Everyone wants to win, and if you don’t believe you can win them, then you probably shouldn’t be playing,” said Reed.

“I believe that if I play the golf that I know how to play, that I can win majors. And it’s just one of those things – I have to go in and not get ahead of myself and go into tomorrow and just take it shot by shot, hole-by-hole, like I’ve been doing.”

Swedish former Open Champion Stenson is two shots further back after adding a two under 70 to his first round 69. He and Rory will play together in the second last group today (Saturday).

With heavy rain forecast for today, it is set to be an eventful moving day and a thrilling weekend in the year’s first Major Championship.

135 P Reed (USA) 69 66,
137 M Leishman (Aus) 70 67,
139 H Stenson (Swe) 69 70,
140 J Spieth (USA) 66 74, R McIlroy (Nir) 69 71,
141 D Johnson (USA) 73 68, J Thomas (USA) 74 67,
142 B Watson (USA) 73 69, C Hoffman (USA) 69 73, T Finau (USA) 68 74, R Fowler (USA) 70 72, J Rose (Eng) 72 70, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 71,
143 B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 73, J Rahm (Esp) 75 68, M Kuchar (USA) 68 75, C Smith (Aus) 71 72,
144 T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 72, H Matsuyama (Jpn) 73 71, Z Johnson (USA) 70 74, J Walker (USA) 73 71, A Hadwin (Can) 69 75,
145 V Singh (Fij) 71 74, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 69 76, H Li (Chn) 69 76, R Henley (USA) 73 72, S Kodaira (Jpn) 71 74,
146 J Vegas (Ven) 77 69, B Grace (RSA) 73 73, R Moore (USA) 74 72, F Couples (USA) 72 74, K Stanley (USA) 72 74, J Day (Aus) 75 71, F Molinari (Ita) 72 74,
147 M Kaymer (Ger) 74 73, D Berger (USA) 73 74, C Reavie (USA) 76 71, B Harman (USA) 73 74, K Kisner (USA) 72 75,
148 T Woods (USA) 73 75, B Dechambeau (USA) 74 74, A Scott (Aus) 75 73, S Kim (Kor) 75 73, B Langer (Ger) 74 74, D Ghim (am) (USA) 72 76,
149 P Mickelson (USA) 70 79, T Hatton (Eng) 74 75, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 79 70, X Schauffele (USA) 71 78, P Casey (Eng) 74 75, W Simpson (USA) 76 73, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 75 74, I Poulter (Eng) 74 75,
150 J Dufner (USA) 73 77, S Lyle (Sco) 74 76, J Olazábal (Esp) 74 76, C Schwartzel (RSA) 72 78,
151 B Steele (USA) 76 75, T Pieters (Bel) 73 78, D Frittelli (RSA) 77 74, S Sharma (Ind) 77 74, P Cantlay (USA) 75 76, D Willett (Eng) 75 76, T Potter Jnr (USA) 73 78,
152 P Perez (USA) 73 79, W Bryan (USA) 74 78, P Kizzire (USA) 76 76, R Fisher (Eng) 78 74,
153 K Chappell (USA) 77 76, A Noren (Swe) 74 79, T Immelman (RSA) 78 75, Y Ikeda (Jpn) 76 77, J Niemann (am) (Chi) 76 77, D Redman (am) (USA) 76 77,
154 Y Miyazato (Jpn) 77 77, G Woodland (USA) 78 76, A Cook (USA) 74 80,
155 B Horschel (USA) 76 79, I Woosnam (Wal) 79 76, M Weir (Can) 76 79,
156 L Mize (USA) 76 80,
159 A Cabrera (Arg) 76 83, M O’Meara (USA) 78 81, S Garcia (Esp) 81 78, Y Lin (am) (Chn) 79 80,
160 M Parziale (am) (USA) 81 79,
166 H Ellis (am) (Eng) 86 80,

R&A consider capping spectator numbers for Royal Portrush Open Championship

February 17, 2018

A visualisation of how the 18th green (the current 16th) will look in 2019

In an unprecedented move, the R&A is weighing up plans to cap spectator numbers at next year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
The historic nature of The Open’s return to Northern Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years coupled with the potential for a resurgent Rory McIlroy has given officials a headache as they consider how best to deal with what could be record-breaking crowds.
Given that the Irish Open in 2012 at the same venue was a sell-out – with over 130,000 people filling through the gates – R&A officials are now pondering a move which would be a first in 140+ years of the celebrated major Championship.
Speaking earlier this week R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers said the issue was being given ‘serious consideration’.
“It’s not just the compactness [of the site], but what do fans really want, which is they want to get as close to the players as they possibly can, and that plays into how many people can we actually physically get into the complex, into the course and give them that experience. And so there’s a lot of work being done on that we haven’t concluded yet,” he said.

“I think there will be also a lot of Americans will be there, especially for the first time. I think it could be a big crowd. And if Rory keeps playing well, it’ll be an even bigger crowd.”

Last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, won by American Jordan Spieth, attracted record crowds for an Open on English soil with 235,000 people attending during tournament week which includes the practice days. It was the third highest ever, falling shy of the St Andrews Opens of 2000 (239,000) and 2015 (237,000).

To add some further context, individual daily attendance figures at the Open Championship regularly top 40,000. In 2014, when Rory McIlroy collected the Claret Jug at Hoylake, some 42,000 people came through the gates. Given that figure, upwards of 50,000 a day could well be expected at Royal Portrush.
Work is continuing apace at Royal Portrush to install the infrastructure needed to host the event next July which is set to include daily seating for approximately 20,000 spectators.
Two new holes on the championship Dunluce Links, designed by Mackenzie and Ebert and built specifically for the Open Championship were opened for play in July last year. The R&A will stage the Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush and Portstewart from 14-19 August this year.

World Ranking points up for grabs at Faldo Series Northern Ireland Championship

February 8, 2018

The 10th at Lough Erne

The Faldo Series returns to Lough Erne Resort this year in a new July date and with valuable World Ranking points up for grabs.
The Faldo Series Northern Ireland Championship will welcome a strong field of young golfers to the Enniskillen venue (July 18-20) for the 11th Faldo Series event to be hosted in County Fermanagh.
“We were determined to make sure the tournament was World Ranking this year and to do that, we opted to make it a three-day event,” said Lough Erne Director of Golf, Lynn McCool.

“Historically the tournament was held in April and that worked very well but adding another day encouraged us to move the event into the summer during the school holidays and hopefully in some warmer weather. Now that it is a world ranking event, we are expecting to receive even more interest so prospective participants should get their entries in soon.”

Last year, Robert Moran won the Faldo Series Ireland event at Lough Erne by a single shot. The Castle Golf Club member fired an excellent final round of 69 – four shots better than any other player on the day – to book his ticket to the Faldo Series Grand Final which was held at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club in UAE.
“It’s a wonderful prize to reach the Grand Final,” added Lynn.
“The winners get to travel, to spend time in a learning environment and mix with other golfers from all over the world.
“In the past, we hosted the Grand Final at Lough Erne and Sir Nick Faldo puts a remarkable amount of time and effort into the week. It’s one of the reasons why the Faldo Series is now a huge global competition.”
This year’s Northern Ireland Championship will be played over three rounds on the Faldo Course at Lough Erne. The field will be divided into five age-groups – three for boys and two for girls – and the winners of each division will again join Sir Nick Faldo at the season-ending Faldo Series Grand Final.

Lynn McCool at Lough Erne

Lynn continued: “The Faldo Course provides a different challenge for these young players. They have to think their way around, especially when faced with risk and reward holes like the 10th and the 17th.
“To beat this course you have to be able to play every shot and you have to keep going right to the very end. The closing stretch of holes lend themselves to tournament golf because it’s never over until you’ve holed out on the last.”
Sir Nick Faldo created the Faldo Series in 1996 to give opportunity to young people through golf and to help identify and nurture the next generation of champions.
Supported by golf’s governing bodies, 40 annual tournaments now take place in 30 countries worldwide, spanning Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and Asia. Past winners include major champions Tseng Ya-ni and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
Competitors aged 12 to 21 can now enter the Faldo Series Northern Ireland Championship with places in the Faldo Series Grand Final awaiting the age group winners.

To enter the Faldo Series go to

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