In great news for Irish golf, an exciting festival of tournaments have been confirmed for June when the brand-new NI Swing will see three professional events take place at key venues across Northern Ireland over a 10-day period.
The new initiative is part of the Mizuno Next Generation Series and will carry a total prize fund of £165,000 across three high profile events where men and women professionals will compete, while amateurs will also get the chance to tee it up in dedicated pro-ams.
Action will get underway with the £60,000 NI Masters at Clandeboye Golf Club from June 14-16 in a 54-hole stroke play event, preceded by a Pro-Am on June 13. Golf enthusiasts will remember when former DP World Tour winner Simon Thornton blazed a trail by shooting 60 on his way to winning the 2021 NI Masters event at Clandeboye, while England’s Sam Broadhurst won at the North Down venue in 2022.
From there, the action moves to Cairndhu Golf Club for the NI Open Pro-am on Sunday, June 18 where amateurs and professionals get the chance to team up in what promises to be a fun day out on one of the most spectacular headland locations in Northern Ireland. DP World Tour player John Murphy won the NI Open at Cairndhu in 2021.
Attention will then turn to the renowned tournament venue of Galgorm for the £100,000 NI Open presented by Modest! Golf Management from June 20-22 in another 54-hole stroke play event. This will be the 13th staging of the NI Open, a truly homegrown event that started out at Galgorm in 2010. Since then, high profile winners have included New Zealand’s Ryan Fox (2016), a Rolex Series winner and recently crowned 2022 Player of the Year on the DP World Tour after picking up the Seve Ballesteros Award.
Local favourite Dermot McElroy is the defending champion after his dominant win in 2022.
The Mizuno Next Generation Series, presented by the Clutch Pro Tour, is the Official Feeder Tour to the European Challenge Tour and DP World Tour with a guaranteed prize fund of £1.8million across the 2023 season.
“We are extremely pleased to have been able to secure this status for the tour and to strengthen our partnership with the Challenge Tour and DP World Tour,” said Clutch Pro Tour co-founder Tom Hayward.
In a revolutionary two-tiered structure for development golf, the Mizuno Next Generation Series will consist of 36 multi-day tournaments across the UK. Tier one encompasses 18 events with 15 standard £60,000 prize funds alongside three premier £100,00 events, one of which will be the NI Open. There will be 18 Tier Two events, each with a prize fund of £30,000.
The NI Swing is a standout element of the 2023 Mizuno Next Generation Series schedule and following its conclusion, the two leading male players and top female player from the NI Swing Order of Merit will secure their places and return to Galgorm for the $3 million ISPS HANDA World Invitational (August 17-20), tri-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and LET.
In addition, following the conclusion of the NI Swing, 30 playing invitations for the remainder of the 2023 European Challenge Tour season will be awarded to the leading four players on the Mizuno Next Generation Series Order of Merit. The number one ranked player will receive nine Challenge Tour starts with those in second, third and fourth place receiving seven starts each.
At the conclusion of the 2023 season, the leading two players on the Mizuno Next Generation Series Order of Merit will earn full Challenge Tour cards for 2024.
The NI Swing is more than a celebration of golf; it is a key economic driver for Northern Ireland. The 10-day period will generate over 2,000 bed nights across Northern Ireland. Highlights from the NI Swing will also be broadcast on Sky Sports in households in the UK and Ireland and across Europe as destination Northern Ireland reaches millions of viewers both at home and abroad.
John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI, said: “This revamped format for the NI Swing, is an exciting opportunity to showcase a variation of our world class golfing product as well as supporting the development of young golfers, many of whom hail from Northern Ireland.
“Golf tourism is a hugely lucrative sector for Northern Ireland. Annually more than 120,000 overseas visitors play golf here. Hosting renowned homegrown events remains an important and growing element in NI’s tourism offering and continues to offer wider tourism benefits in terms of showcasing our products and encouraging non-golf related activities alongside golf. The NI Swing will offer positive media attention for Northern Ireland and the exposure will demonstrate that our golfing product and wider destination truly is world class.”
For more information, visit: https://www.niopen.golf/
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