McIlroy to compete in Irish Open

FIFTEEN YEAR-OLD West of Ireland champion Rory McIlroy has been selected to compete in the Nissan Irish Open Championship at Carton House Golf Club next month.

Sponsors Nissan have invited the GUI to nominate three amateurs to compete in the championship and the remaining two spots will be filled following the completion of the AIB Irish Amateur Open Championship at Carton House Golf Club on May 6-8.

McIlroy, an Irish Examiner Junior Sports Star winner, became the youngest winner of the West of Ireland Championship over Easter.

The Holywood golfer, who will be 16 on May 4, is also the reigning Nissan Irish Boys champion, a title which he won at Castlebar GC in August 2004.

Mr Gerard O'Toole, Executive Chairman of Nissan said: "We are delighted to invite the GUI to nominate three amateur golfers to play in the Nissan Irish Open and especially pleased that young Rory McIlroy has been selected.

"We are very happy to be associated with the GUI in the development of Junior golf in Ireland through our sponsorship of the Nissan Irish Boys Championship and it is wonderful that the current champion now has the opportunity to play in the Nissan Irish Open at such a young age."

Meanwhile, record prize money, a majestic new venue and a high quality field look set to confirm the position of the AIB Irish Seniors Open, in association with Greenstar and Fáilte Ireland as one of the most popular and eagerly contested tournaments on the European Seniors Tour.

Ireland's Eamonn Darcy, Christy O'Connor Jnr and Des Smyth, former European Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance of Scotland, and defending champion, Carl Mason of England, have all confirmed their participation in the five-star event at The Heritage at Killenard from June 3-5. Darcy, Smyth and Torrance will be making their debuts in the event.

"I am certainly looking forward to playing the AIB Irish Seniors Open for the first time," said Smyth, who claimed his maiden title on the US Champions Tour when he won the SBC Classic in March. "It is an event I have always wanted to play but until this year my other commitments have prevented it. However, my early season US victory has given me more flexibility and I'm relishing the prospect of playing The Heritage at Killenard. I've heard great things about it and would love to win the title to add to my other Irish victories."

The superb new Seve Ballesteros course becomes the seventh different venue in the nine years of the AIB Irish Seniors Open, in association with Greenstar and Fáilte Ireland, while the prize fund of €400,000 is almost four times the €105,000 on offer when England's Tommy Horton won the inaugural edition in 1997.

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