After a three-week summer break, the 2023 DP World Tour season resumes with a return to Northern Ireland as Galgorm and Castlerock Golf Club play host to the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics.
Here are your five things to know ahead of this week’s innovative event.
New challenge awaits as Castlerock joins Galgorm as co-host
The ISPS HANDA World Invitational sees some of the best players in the men’s and women’s game compete on the same courses, at the same time, while being co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
This is the third year the tournament has formed part of the DP World Tour schedule after its inaugural edition was sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour in 2019.
Held in Northern Ireland, both men’s and women’s tournaments will be held concurrently at Galgorm and new co-host Castlerock, located in Co. Derry.
In a new dimension to the tournament, the arrival of Castlerock sees players tackling a links layout in addition to Galgorm’s parkland course.
Every player will play one round at each venue over the first two days, before all the action takes place at Galgorm once the cut falls after 36 holes.
Ferguson back to defend
Ewen Ferguson won his second DP World Tour title of the 2022 season in wire-to-wire fashion last year.
The Scotsman started the week with a course-record nine under par 61 at Galgorm, before a final-round 69 saw him reach a 12-under total and claim a three-shot victory.
Ferguson, who had won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters earlier in the campaign, went on to finish 17th on the DP World Tour rankings.
So far this year, the 27-year-old has registered four top tens and made his Major Championship in last month’s The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool.
Sweden’s Maja Stark won the women’s title last year but is not in the field this week, however Ireland’s Leona Maguire, Dane Emily Kristine Pedersen and England’s Georgia Hall and teeing it up days after the AIG Women’s Open.
The G4D campaign continues
This event played host to a tournament for golfers with a disability for the third year running as the seventh event of the expanded 2023 G4D Tour season took place on Monday and Tuesday.
Kipp Popert enjoyed a ten-stroke victory and won his seventh G4D Tour title, making it back-to-back victories on the G4D circuit after winning at The Belfry last month and underlining his status as world number one in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) in emphatic fashion at Galgorm.
The 25-year-old, who held a two-stroke lead after day one, posted a stunning six under par round of 66 on the final day to add to his opening 69, finishing on nine under par and ten strokes clear of Canada’s Kurtis Barkley, who finished second on one over par with Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor in 6th on six-over par and Conor Stone in 10th on 11-over.
Ryder Cup hopefuls on show as the countdown continues
Only three events remain in the qualification process on the DP World Tour schedule for players to secure a spot on Luke Donald’s European team for next month’s Ryder Cup.
With that in mind, Robert MacIntyre and Victor Perez will be aiming to bolster their chances of a debut in the biennial contest against the U.S. Team at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.
Scotland’s MacIntyre, who has top fives in each of his last two regular DP World Tour starts, currently holds the final automatic qualification spot on the European Points List.
Frenchman Perez started 2023 with a maiden Rolex Series title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and is sure to be hungry for more success with a big run of events coming up on the Race to Dubai.
Both players, who have five DP World Tour wins between them, will be making their first appearances in the tournament.
McKibbin set for Northern Ireland homecoming as a DP World Tour winner
The Northern Irish public will not be in short supply of home favourites to cheer on this week.
Just a few months on from winning his first DP World Tour title in his rookie campaign, Tom McKibbin will receive a hero’s welcome.
A product of Holywood Golf Club, the same club where McIlroy honed his skills as a junior, McKibbin now represents Galgorm.
Compatriot Stephanie Meadow is also returning to home shores and an event she has enjoyed previous success at having won the inaugural edition.
The 31-year-old, Galgorm’s Touring Professional, secured the largest prize check of her career by finishing in a tie for third at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June.
Spectator entry to Castlerock is FREE both days, while daily and season tickets are available for Galgorm. Children under-13 go FREE all week.
The World Invitational is a family friendly event with plenty to see and do for all the family. Book your tickets today and be part of this amazing festival of world class golf by clicking here.