Lovely couple of days 'reference collecting' at the Irish Open.
I popped over to Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday to collect portrait reference. As you all know I like to use my own photos for the swing portraits. Great to get some close up work of Danny Willett, Padraig Harrinton and many others on the Tuesday. Stayed at a lovely little hotel 'Barberstown Castle' where I was pampered by the very professional staff. After a lovely evening meal prepared by the French Chef I retired to my 'Four poster' bed. Thanks to them for their excellent hospitality.
Back at the Open,Thanks to Kate and the European Tour Media Centre staff, working very hard as usual and putting up with every eventuality. The organizers have set up a fantastic tournament, normal for Irish events. There is something for everyone in the village and nice to see a dedicated European Tour merchandising area. The kids can enjoy all manner of activities. I'm sure everyone visiting the Tournament will come away having enjoyed their weekend. I certainly enjoyed my short time there. Congrats to Andy Sullivan and his wife. Back to the canvas for me.
Like a number of Ireland’s top amateurs, Sharvin (2015) and Whitson (2014) joined the professional ranks in recent years and the NI Open will be a great opportunity to see these players in action as they make their way in the paid ranks.
Massereene’s Tiarnon McLarnon won last year’s North of Ireland Strokeplay by three shots after rounds of 68, 69 gave him a five-under 137 winning total.
Several key improvements have been made to the course over the last 12 months. The championship tee at the second has been extended and a new bunker complex added along the fairway to further enhance this risk, reward par four. The championship tee box at the eighth was also extended on a course that now measures over 7,100 yards.
Entry for the North of Ireland Strokeplay is £35 (€45) and includes lunch. The closing date for entries is Monday 13th June. Download the entry form at http://www.niopen.golf/noi-strokeplay-2016/ or for further information contact the professional shop at Galgorm Castle on +44 (0) 28 2564 6161.
There will be added incentive to win this year’s prestigious North of Ireland Amateur Open Strokeplay title at Galgorm Castle as the winner will also book their place in the Northern Ireland Open, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at the same venue.
The North of Ireland Strokeplay, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena, takes place at the renowned Ballymena venue on Tuesday 28th June and entry for the 36-hole tournament is now open. One month later the lucky winner will return to Galgorm Castle to compete alongside the professionals in the European Challenge Tour’s record-breaking NI Open from July 28-31.
Galgorm Castle has always proved a great test of tournament golf and the North of Ireland Strokeplay tournament has produced some great champions over the years. Local favourite Dermot McElroy won in 2013 and went on to compete in the inaugural NI Open when the Irish international finished tied ninth on six-under 278 behind winner Daan Huizing from The Netherlands. The Ballymena amateur was joint leading Irishman alongside Jonny Caldwell that year.
Former Irish internationals Reeve Whitson (2010) and Cormac Sharvin (2012) are also included on the North of Ireland Strokeplay roll of honour. Sharvin was part of the ‘Famous Five’ Irish contingent who won the Walker Cup representing Great Britain and Ireland against the Americans at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2015.