One of Ireland's newest championship golf courses - the PGA National Ireland course at Palmerstown House, Johnstown - has received a boost, being tapped to host this year's AIB Irish Seniors Open, a stop on the European Seniors Tour.
The tournament is slated for June 1-3, with former European Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance defending his title from last year.
The tournament has a prize purse of €450,000, with first place taking €67,500.
The tournament field, announced today, will include European Seniors Tour Order of Merit leader Gordon J Brand of England, who has won three of the last four tour events, Eamonn Darcy of Ireland, Ross Drummond of Scotland, Stewart Ginn of Australia, Carl Mason of England and two-time AIB Irish Seniors Open winner Noel Ratcliffe of Australia.
The Spanish duo of Juan Quiros and José Rivero and Italy's most decorated golfer, Costantino Rocca, are also in the field.
Officials say the tournament will be the highest profile event yet for the highly touted Palmerstown House estate - which received millions of euros of investment, primarily from Citywest Group owner Jim Mansfield.
Much of that money went to building the PGA National Ireland course, designed by Irish Ryder Cup legend Christy O'Connor Jr. Three million euro along went to planting mature trees along many of the course's fairways.
"We hope to attract bumper crowds to Palmerstown House," Andy Stubbs, managing director of the European Seniors Tour, said. "The Irish Seniors Open has grown into a significant tournament on the European Seniors Tour schedule over the past decade."
John O'Donoghue, Ireland's minister for arts, sports and tourism, is welcomed the event, and said the country was still on a golf high after hosting the Ryder cup last year.
"The Ryder Cup reached an enormous audience last year and provided a unique opportunity for this country to present our golfing heritage and facilities to the world," O'Donoghue said. "The AIB Irish Seniors Open will help sustain that momentum and will present PGA National, yet another world class Irish golf course, to an international audience."
April 17, 2007
With stellar play on the back nine at Royal Birkdale, Padraig Harrington shot a 69 in the final round to earn a four-shot victory and become Europe's first back-to-back British Open champion in more than a century. He earned nearly $1.5 million and climbed to No. 3 in the world rankings. "I'm really thrilled with the way I felt today on the golf course," Harrington said. "I hit the ball as pure as I could and just felt really good."
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