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Michael Hoey leads top-class field confirmed for Northern Ireland Open Challenge

Peter Hamilton (Captain, Bangor Golf Club) and Alisdair Moore (Team Captain) with team members Andrew Moore, James Fox, Corrie McAllister, Thomas Beaumont and Ryan Young after their victory at the 2014 Irish Junior Foursomes Finals at Castlewarden Golf Club

Peter Hamilton (Captain, Bangor Golf Club) and Alisdair Moore (Team Captain) with team members Andrew Moore, James Fox, Corrie McAllister, Thomas Beaumont and Ryan Young after their victory at the 2014 Irish Junior Foursomes Finals at Castlewarden Golf Club

  • by Paul Gallagher
 

Another stellar field will gather for next week’s Northern Ireland Open, in association Maui Jim Sunglasses, at Galgorm Castle where former Ryder Cup players and stars of the future will compete in the £140,000 (€170,000) Challenge Tour event.

Five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey will be one of the star attractions at the Ballymena venue where the Tournament Ambassador hopes to be at the business end of proceedings come the weekend.

“I would love to get into contention and give the crowds something to cheer about,” said Hoey, who called a penalty on himself and eventually missed the cut last year.

“I will be much better rested and prepared this time and am looking forward to competing on home soil once more.”

Hoey, who is also Galgorm Castle’s Touring Professional, was forced to take a break after retiring from this year’s Open Championship at Hoylake in July with a foot injury.

He also had an unfortunate situation last week where he wrongly assumed he had missed the cut in Denmark and travelled home too early.

The 35-year-old will have no such logistical issues when teeing up at Galgorm - where admission is free to the general public all week.

However, the 2013 Russian Open winner will face stiff competition, not least from players like England’s Oliver Wilson, who will look to go one better than last year.

The 2008 Ryder Cup player closed with a final round 67 to tie with Daan Huizing on 13-under-par 271.

However, it was the Dutchman who won at the first play-off hole to claim the €27,2000 winner’s cheque.

Another former Ryder Cup player Phillip Price is also set to compete at Galgorm.

The veteran Welshman famously defeated Phil Mickelson in the final day singles at the 2002 Ryder Cup.

There will be plenty of home interest too as players like Gareth Shaw, Niall Kearney and new professional Reeve Whitson try to capitalise on home advantage.

 

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