Friday, May 01, 2009

McIlroy returns to Irish Links Course

After thrilling golfing galleries across America in the last two months, Rory McIlroy cannot wait to get back to his first love of links golf at The 3 Irish Open at County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, from May 14-17. The Northern Irishman has taken the golfing world by storm since his maiden European Tour victory at the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of the year, and has since gone on to make a huge impression across America with outstanding performances at the Masters, finishing tied 20th, and the WGC – Accenture Match Play, where he made it through to the quarter-finals before losing to World Number Four Geoff Ogilvy. But McIlroy is keen to get back to business on The European Tour, and where better to do so than on the classic links at Baltray, where he will surely be afforded a hero’s welcome alongside three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington. “We don’t play that much links golf on The European Tour so it’s great that The 3 Irish Open is returning to Baltray,” said McIlroy.“I am looking forward to playing it so much because I love links golf. The 3 Irish Open is one of the oldest tournaments on The European Tour and I would love to win at Baltray. Returning to links golf after a couple of months in America where I played courses like Augusta and Doral will be a test but it’s a test I’m relishing.” McIlroy, who turns 20 this coming Monday, will return to his homeland after The PLAYERS Championship next week in search of a second European Tour victory of the season that would, given the impressive €3 million prize fund on offer at The 3 Irish Open, see him make significant strides in his quest to win the inaugural Race to Dubai. McIlroy is currently fourth in The Race to Dubai standings, but victory at Baltray would see him make up significant ground on current Number One Ogilvy. “There’s no doubt it would be great to get back to Dubai and have a chance of winning The Race to Dubai and the Dubai World Championship – but first of all I have to concentrate on getting a good result at The 3 Irish Open because that would be a good catalyst for the rest of the year. “It would be a nice to do a Dubai double, that’s for sure! But it’s a long way off and I’m concentrating on the rest of the season, starting at Baltray in a couple of weeks.” Robert Finnegan, Chief Executive of 3, said: “I’m delighted to announce Rory’s entrance to The 3 Irish Open. Its superb news that one of the best young talents not just in Ireland but in the game, will be playing at Baltray, one of our finest links courses. With his recent top 20 finish in the Masters at Augusta he has already arrived on the world stage and ranks amongst the best, everyone is expecting a great performance from him. The 3 Irish Open is shaping up to be very exciting with all the recent high profile player announcements and with more to come. It really is going to be an event that all Irish golfing fans should not miss.”Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said: "Rory McIlroy is a talented, committed sportsman and his first professional title was secured last February at the Emirates Golf Club was well deserved. Since then he has gone on to excite the crowds with his thrilling and superb golf game. I am delighted that this one of the most exciting young players in world golf will be playing in The 3 Irish Open next month at the Baltray Links. His participation will ensure worldwide crowds will be avidly watching to see golf’s newest talent in action. With a new international title sponsor 3, The 3 Irish Open, also supported by Fáilte Ireland will be one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour. "

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