Thursday, May 30, 2024

McKibbin delighted to play his part in next chapter of NI Open at Galgorm – Irish Golfer Magazine

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In an exciting relaunch of this truly homegrown Northern Ireland event, organisers and partners are delighted DP World Tour winner Tom McKibbin has added his full support to an event he is already very familiar with. In 2016, a 13-year-old McKibbin got his first taste of professional golf when he took part in the NI Open at Galgorm as an amateur.

McKibbin is one of Ireland’s leading professionals in the world game and won his first professional title at the Porsche European Open on the DP World Tour in June 2023. He is also the Galgorm Touring Professional and is delighted to see more great tournament golf returning to the Ballymena venue.

“I am honoured to be part of the revamped NI Open which promises to be another outstanding event here in Northern Ireland. We have a great summer of tournament golf to look forward to and the NI Open is an exciting opportunity for golf fans to witness some of the game’s leading players,” said McKibbin, who will be playing in the Pro-am at Galgorm on Tuesday, July 23.

“I played in many Challenge Tour events when starting out in my career and they are hugely competitive with great players from all over the world. I know there will be a strong Irish contingent competing at Galgorm too, which will give the home fans plenty to cheer about.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to Galgorm in what promises to be a great week in July,” added the 21-year-old, who turned professional in 2021.

The inaugural NI Open was played at Galgorm in 2010 and evolved into one of the most popular events on the Challenge Tour, breaking all attendance records along the way. This year promises to be just as popular with FREE ENTRY all week for all the family and registration for free tickets is available online HERE.

George Diamondis, Tourism NI Golf Marketing Manager, said: “The NI Open presented by Tom McKibbin is an annual homegrown golf tournament, hosted at Galgorm and this year sees the well-deserved return to the Challenge Tour. This tournament will be the first in a series of exciting golf tournaments which will showcase our world class golfing product on an international stage.

“Golf tourism is a hugely lucrative sector for Northern Ireland. In 2023 more than 29,000 overseas visitors played golf here. Hosting renowned homegrown events remains an important and growing element in NI’s tourism offering and continues to offer wider tourism benefits in terms of showcasing our products and encouraging non-golf related activities alongside golf. The NI Open will offer positive media attention for Northern Ireland and the exposure will demonstrate that our golfing product and wider destination truly is world class.”

The NI Open has historically been one of the standout events on the European Challenge Tour’s international schedule and the £250,000 elevated event in 2024 will take place in a week that coincides with a gap on the DP World Tour schedule, ensuring a strong field for fans to enjoy. A particularly strong Irish contingent is expected to tee it up at Galgorm, bringing golf fans to Galgorm from across the island.

Jamie Hodges, Challenge Tour Director, said: “It’s great to have the NI Open back on the Challenge Tour schedule for the first time in four years. Historically it has been one of the best supported events on the calendar, and we’re hoping that fans will come out in their numbers once again to show their support.

“Galgorm has provided several nail-biting finishes before and I’m expecting this year to be no different. It is the perfect setting for what is guaranteed to be a great week.

“The NI Open comes at a pivotal time in our season, with players fighting for points that could go a long way to ensuring their promotion to the DP World Tour. For each player teeing it up, there is a lot on the line.”

The NI Open will be hosted by Galgorm and promoted by the Clutch Pro Tour in partnership with Galgorm. The Clutch Pro Tour is an official feeder Tour to the European Challenge Tour and DP World Tour.

“We are thrilled to be coming to Galgorm and Northern Ireland later this year. We have had several great Clutch Pro Tour events there in recent years and look forward to the NI Open on the European Challenge Tour this year,” said Tom Hayward, Director Clutch Pro Tour and Event Promoter.

“The NI Open is the pinnacle of the 2024 season for us all at Clutch. We continue to provide genuine pathways for young, aspiring professionals and the opportunities for our members to play on the European Challenge Tour can be life changing.”

The NI Open enjoys an illustrious list of former champions who have come through the ranks and development tours before making their mark at the top of the game. New Zealand’s Ryan Fox won in 2016. Since then, Fox has won four times on the DP World Tour and received the illustrious Seve Ballesteros Player of the Year Award in 2023 along with a 2025 PGA Tour card.

Tournament week will offer attractions for all the family away from the course, while a brand-new NI Open Junior Championship will take place (further information on qualification for this unique event will follow in due course), which will be a nine-hole format where juniors will follow the professionals onto the championship course on the Saturday afternoon of the tournament.

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