Castlerock bid to stage Irish Open

Castlerock Golf Club's Bert McKay.
Castlerock Golf Club's Bert McKay.
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Castlerock officials admit “aiming as high as we can” in pursuit of the Irish Open.

It is understood that initial talks have already taken place with European Tour representatives over hosting the 2021 tournament at the Northern Ireland venue.

Support from Tourism Ireland has also been indicated as Castlerock attempts to follow in the footsteps of Royal Portrush, Royal County Down and Portstewart as domestic venues for the Rolex Series showpiece.

“We are aiming as high as we can and see where it takes us,” said Castlerock general manager Bert McKay told BBC Sport NI. “It’s the national championship and one of the biggest events on the European Tour now.

“We have seen the impact that has been made at Portrush, Portstewart and Ballyliffin and it would be remiss not to have a go and put the whole north coast on the map again in between Open Championships.”

Sources suggest Northern Ireland has been ear-marked by the European Tour to host the event in 2021 and 2023.

“Tourism NI are keen to see the tournament come back to the north coast, whether it be here or somewhere else,” said the Castlerock general manager. “Discussions with the European Tour are at an early stage but we will be meeting with Simon Alliss and some of the guys from the European Tour in the next three or four weeks.

“We have made some changes in the last 18 months but would have to look at some new tees and other bits and pieces.

“Lahinch is a small village too so if there’s a will there’s a way.

“It would be the pinnacle as far as Castlerock is concerned and it would keep the focus on the north coast.”