Rory McIlroy adds name to star-studded Irish Open field at Mount Juliet

Rory McIlroy adds name to star-studded Irish Open field at Mount Juliet
Rory McIlroy follows his tee off at the WGC-Mexico Championship. AP Photo/Fernando Llano

Rory McIlroy will make a much-anticipated return to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open when the World No 1 tees it up at the second Rolex Series event of the 2020 Race to Dubai, taking place at Mount Juliet Estate from May 28-31.

The four-time Major winner will join his fellow Irishman, close friend and tournament host Graeme McDowell, in a star-studded field which also includes defending champion Jon Rahm and the reigning Open champion Shane Lowry.

McIlroy will be targeting a second victory in an event which he himself hosted from 2015 to 2018 – helping elevate the historic national open to become one of the European Tour’s eight premier Rolex Series events.

The 30-year-old famously lifted the trophy in 2016, delighting the home crowds with a swashbuckling display down the stretch to hold off Scot Russell Knox — who went on to claim the title in 2017 — and Welshman Bradley Dredge.

“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” said McIlroy.

“It’s a bit different going back for a May date as opposed to July, and at a parkland course at Mount Juliet.

“I’ve never played the course but got good memories — it was the first time I ever watched Tiger Woods play in person.

“My dad drove me down and we watched the WGC there and that was really cool, so it’ll be exciting to tee it up there myself and try to win a tournament there.”

Meanwhile, in Muscat, James Sugrue failed to make the cut at the Oman Open.

The Mallow man recorded three birdies but made three bogeys, and a treble-bogey 8 on the par 5 16th on his way to a disappointing 77 to finish on six over par overall.

Meanwhile, Co Down’s Cormac Sharvin was the only Irish player to make the cut after a fine 67 left him at two under par.

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