Top stars ready for massive Irish Open test at Fota Island

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Irish golf’s biggest stars will be to the fore when the 2014 Irish Open takes place at Fota Island Resort.

Over 100,000 fans are expected to descend on the County Cork course from June 19-22, for what promises to be an unforgettable festival of golf.

Major champions Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke along with European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, five time tour winner Michael Hoey and 2009 winner Shane Lowry will form part of an elite home challenge.

They will be joined by a quality field of previous European Tour winners and upcoming stars including young Italian superstar, 21-year-old Matteo Manassero, a four-time winner on the European Tour, who will make his third appearance at the Irish Open this year.

Manassero will be expecting some Irish support with his caddie, Dave McNeilly coming from Belfast and having worked for three-time Major Champion, Pádraig Harrington.

Launching the countdown to the 2014 Irish Open, Lowry said,“I’ve played the course at Fota Island a few times recently and it will be a difficult but fair challenge.

“I’m confident that it will suit my own game and I have a huge desire to repeat the feeling I had on the 18th green in Baltray five years ago. That’s the plan and that’s the goal and I can’t wait to get out there on June 19.”

The players will face a stern test on the Jeff Howes-designed Deerpark course and with precious Ryder Cup points on the line, the event promises to be one of the most competitive on this year’s European Tour International Schedule.

Since the Irish Open was played at Fota Island Resort in

2001 and 2002, the course has undergone extensive changes. Most recently, five tees have been extended, bringing the course to 7043 yards but it can feel much longer due to the five par threes.

“We are very proud to welcome the Irish Open back to East Cork and Fota Island Resort” said Jonathan Woods, CEO of Fota Island Resort.

“Our team has been working hard in preparation across every aspect of the Resort both on and off the course. The course itself has never looked better.”