Devastated nine-year-old loses priceless Open flag signed by world’s top golfers at Portrush

Ben McAvoy (red shirt) with his twin Thomas and younger brother Jonny at the Open championship at Royal Portrush
Ben McAvoy (red shirt) with his twin Thomas and younger brother Jonny at the Open championship at Royal Portrush
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A Northern Ireland man is calling for help after his nine-year-old son lost a flag that had been signed by dozens of the world’s top golfers at the Open championship in Portrush.

Ian McAvoy, who is originally from Belfast, said his son Ben has been left “devastated” after he misplaced the priceless piece of memorabilia this week.

Ben's Open flag had been signed by around 30 golf stars, including Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Francesco Molinari.

Ben's Open flag had been signed by around 30 golf stars, including Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Francesco Molinari.

Ben, along with his twin brother Thomas and their six-year-old brother Jonny, had spent the three practice days at Royal Portrush gathering autographs from the likes of Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, Jordan Spieth, Ian Poulter, and reigning champion Francesco Molinari.

Ian said: “He spend up to seven hours each day out on the course and must have got about 30 signatures. He is absolutely devastated.

“On the Wednesday afternoon there was an deluge or rain that came down around 5pm and we had to dash from the back of the 18th hole to the spectator village. It was after that he realised he must have dropped the flag and let out an absolute almighty scream.

“He ran back immediately in the direction he had been but no joy unfortunately. He was in bits afterwards. His two brothers still have their signed flags and have been trying to console him.

“We now have another flag which we are working on getting autographed, but it is obviously the championship days now and the players aren’t signing as much as they were on the practice days. We have managed to get a few autographs, but none of the big guys so far.

“So while Ben will have a souvenir at the end of it, he is disappointed that it won’t be the one he had put all that work into.”

Ian took to Twitter in the hopes that someone had spotted the missing flag and could return it safely to its rightful owner.

“I am not expecting miracles, it was just on the off chance that someone had come across it,” he added.
“We have had some very kind offers of help from people on social media, including a management company who have said they will try and get him something signed by some of their players. It is very nice and very much appreciated.

“If someone manages to get the flag back to us it would be amazing and would restore my faith in humanity. Whatever happens, there is a life lesson it this for Ben.”

Anyone who can help Ian track down the missing flag can contact him on Twitter @imacca77