Anticipation building ahead of Irish Challenge return to Headfort

Mark McGowan
Mark McGowan

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Excitement levels are building ahead of the Irish Challenge’s return to the popular Headfort Golf Club in July after a four-year absence.

The event is set to take place from July 27-30 on the Championship Course (Headfort New), designed by Irish golfing hero Christy O’Connor Jnr. Emilio Cuartero Blanco was the victor when the County Meath venue first staged the Irish Challenge in 2019.

All eyes will be on those fighting at the top of the Road to Mallorca Rankings, with the Irish Challenge one of 29 qualifying events on this year’s schedule. After the climactic Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final at Club de Golf Alcanada, only the 20 highest-ranked players will claim a coveted DP World Tour card for the 2024 season.

As well as being a vital step on the Road to Mallorca, the highest placed Irish player at the Irish Challenge will receive the Christy O’Connor Jr Memorial Trophy in memory of the late Ryder Cup star. This player will also receive an invitation to next year’s Horizon Irish Open.

O’Connor Jnr’s Championship Course is widely recognised as one of Ireland’s best parkland layouts. The par-72 course is renowned for its natural beauty, enhanced by the architect’s use of native trees and water hazards. Since opening to rave reviews in 2001, the layout has earned a reputation as a challenge for even low handicap players, making it a natural fit for one of golf’s most demanding competitions.

Jamie Hodges, Head of Challenge Tour, said: “We are delighted to be taking the Irish Challenge back to Headfort Golf Club in July.

“The estate offers one of the finest parkland golfing experiences in Ireland and our members will relish the opportunity to compete on the Championship Course.

“We thoroughly enjoyed our first visit here in 2019 and we are looking forward to working with the team again to deliver a memorable event.

“We give special thanks to everyone at Headfort Golf Club for all their help and hospitality. Through our collective partnership and teamwork, our members will be treated to a first-class tournament and an event that will be eagerly anticipated on the Challenge Tour schedule.”

Jacqueline McCormack, Chairperson of Headfort Golf Club, said: “On behalf of the club, I welcome the return of the Challenge Tour to our Championship Course in July.

“We are delighted to once again be given the opportunity to host a professional golf tournament of this level. The golfing fraternity in Ireland wait in anticipation to witness the upcoming golf stars from throughout Europe take on the magnificent challenge that the Championship Course poses.

“Headfort Golf Club is proud that the Challenge Tour is returning to Kells in County Meath and combined with our traditional hospitality we look forward to meeting players and supporters on and off the course.”

Irish interest is sure to be high with full Challenge Tour members Conor Purcell, Ruaidhri McGee, Niall Kearney and Dermot McElroy sure to be involved, along with a host of other homegrown players who’ll earn their places through national invites and a selection of the country’s top amateur players also likely to feature.

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