McIlroy named writers’ professional of the year

RORY McILROY, who has risen from 39th to ninth position in the official world rankings in his second season on tour, has been voted the ‘Professional of the Year’ in the 2009 Irish Golf Writers’ Association Awards, sponsored by AIB Bank.

The 20-year-old phenomenon from Holywood, Co Down, claimed a maiden tour win when capturing the Dubai Desert Classic in February and went on to have 14 top-10 finishes including a third place at the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine. McIlroy finished second, behind Lee Westwood, in the European Tour’s ‘Race to Dubai’ standings.

Shane Lowry, the 22-year-old from Esker Hills in Co Offaly, has been voted “Men’s Amateur of the Year” in recognition of his win in the 3 Irish Open at Co Louth Golf Club in May. In becoming just the third amateur to win a full event on the PGA European Tour, Lowry – who claimed the title in a play-off with Robert Rock, but who was unable to collect the €500,000 top prize because of his amateur status – brought an end to a trophy-laden amateur career which had seen him lead Ireland to back-to-back European Championship in the previous two seasons.

In a magnificent year for Irish women’s amateur golf, which saw Leona Maguire capture the Helen Holm Trophy and Danielle McVeigh win the British Ladies’ Strokeplay Championship, the “Women’s Amateur of the Year” has gone to Lisa Maguire, who performed the feat of winning both the Lancome Irish Close and the 3 Irish Women’s Amateur Open championships. Lisa was also on the winning European Girls’ team – along with her sister, Leona, and Laura McCarthy – which defeated Sweden 4-1 in the final.

The “Distinguished Services to Golf” Award will be awarded to Albert Lee, from Mullingar Golf Club, who is the honorary secretary of the Golfing Union of Ireland and a past president of the oldest national governing body in the world.

The awards will be presented at the AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge, Dublin, on Thursday, January 7, 2010.

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