Local stars Mehaffey and McKibbin to tee it up alongside global stars

IrishGolfer.ie
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Olivia Mehaffey

Two of Northern Ireland’s hottest prospects in Olivia Mehaffey and Tom McKibbin will get the chance to compete against some of the best players in the game at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf from Jul 28 – Aug 1, 2021.

Earlier this week Major winner Georgia Hall and fellow Solheim Cup star Charley Hull confirmed they will play at Galgorm and Massereene. Hall won the 2018 Women’s British Open and has featured in two Solheim Cups, while Hull has represented Europe four times in the Solheim Cup and won both sides of the Atlantic.

As for Mehaffey and McKibbin, they need little introduction for despite their young years they have been making their mark in golf around the world for years. Both enjoyed stellar amateur careers with Mehaffey one of the standout players on the US college scene in her time as one of the Sun Devils at Arizona State University.

The Co Down golfer made her professional debut last month on the Symetra Tour, the development tour associated with the LPGA Tour. One of her final outings as an amateur was competing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur where she was in contention before finishing two off the lead.

Mehaffey will mix her time competing in both the US and Europe before heading to Q-School in August and has already enjoyed three top 10 finishes in the States last month. The 23-year-old is looking forward to getting back to Northern Ireland.

“I am really looking forward to playing in the ISPS HANDA World Invitational at the end of July. It is a very special event where men and women compete at the same time at the same venues,” said Mehaffey.

“This innovative event continues to push many barriers in sport and to be part of that is very exciting. I’m also looking forward to teeing it up in front a home crowd as a professional. It will be great to see familiar faces as we compete at Galgorm and Massereene.”

McKibbin is no stranger to Galgorm and the spotlight and has competed at the Ballymena venue through invites in recent years. The Galgorm Touring Professional made his debut in the paid ranks in April after receiving an invite to play in the Tenerife Open on the European Tour. This season he is competing mainly on the European Challenge Tour where he tied 12th in the Irish Challenge at Portmarnock Links.

A sensational amateur career saw the 18-year-old represent Ireland and GB&I plus prestigious tournament wins such as the Junior Honda Classic, Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the US plus the Peter McEvoy Trophy. Now starting out on his professional journey, McKibbin is looking forward to competing on home soil once more.

“I love getting the opportunity to compete here in Northern Ireland. I know Galgorm so well having played there over the years and having access to the excellent facilities to practice when I’m home,” said McKibbin.

“I’m delighted to have the chance to play in a full European Tour event again. It’s such an innovative event where we get to compete alongside the stars of the LPGA and LET too. That’s a cool format and is sure to be very exciting for all the spectators.

“It would be great to have a good week at Galgorm and Massereene and I’m very much looking forward to competing in front of the home crowds.”

Further player announcements will be made over the coming days and weeks, and there is still the chance to secure early bird ticket rates through the tournament’s official ticketing platform Eventbrite.

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