Bradley back to roots for Irish Open

Next month’s Irish Open has received another major boost with the confirmation that US PGA champion Keegan Bradley will be in the field at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

The 25-year-old American, whose grandparents were from Cork, will play his first professional tournament in Europe when the European Tour touches down on the Antrim coast from June 28-July 1. He will join homegrown major champions Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington in what is shaping up to be a stellar field for the return of the Irish Open to the north for the first time since 1953.

Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari have also committed to the tournament, won last year by England’s Simon Dyson at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, meaning half of the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup team has confirmed their participation in the €2m event.

Bradley, though, is a major coup for the European Tour and the Irish Open, bringing one of golf’s rising stars to the tournament just 10 months after he won the US PGA title at Atlanta Athletic Club on his major championship debut.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for the 25-year-old, whose father is a PGA professional and his aunt is the former LPGA star, six-time major winner and former Solheim Cup captain Pat Bradley. Pat Bradley is an honorary member of both the Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale and Kenmare Golf Club while Keegan’s uncles John, Chris and Tom have played Kenmare GC’s annual 3 Brothers International Classic

“I’m very proud of my Irish heritage and I’ve wanted to represent them in the Irish national championship,” he said. “Also, Graeme and Darren both have told me what a fabulous layout Portrush is, so I’m doubly excited about the opportunity to compete there.”

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