Dermot McElroy will have the advantage of local knowledge as he embarks on his professional golf career this week.
The Ballymena man has opted to end his glittering amateur career and finally fulfil his long-held ambition of joining the paid ranks. And he will aim to secure his first pay cheque just a couple of miles from his home as he competes in the NI Open at Galgorm Castle this week.
McElroy, a beaten semi-finalist at the recent North of Ireland Open championship in Portrush, will provide a focal point of local interest in an international field for the competition, which is sponsored by Tayto, in partnership with Ulster Bank. The NI Open is the best attended event on the European Challenge Tour’s international schedule and it’s easy to see why with so many additional activities taking place across the Galgorm Castle estate.
“The NI Open is almost in full swing and the week-long festival of golf promises to be a great occasion for all the family,” explains Galgorm’s Castle’s Ross Oliver. “We have more activities than ever lined up and tickets registrations have been excellent, especially as the NI Open is during the school holidays this year.”
After today’s (Tuesday) practice day, and Wednesday’s Pro/Am event - featuring stars including One Direction’s Niall Horan and former Ulster and Ireland rugby star Stephen Ferris, four days of great tournament action begin on Thursday as some of Europe’s top up-and-coming golfers aim to land the title won last year by Frenchman Clement Sordet
To register for FREE tickets simply logon to the tournament’s website niopen.golf and click on the GET TICKETS button on the homepage.
Golfers can also keep up to date through the NI Open app which can be downloaded for iphone and android devices. See page 41 for more coverage.