O’Connor Jnr legacy alive and kicking with Stone Irish Challenge

Conor O'Rourke is presented the Christy O'Connor JNR Memorial Trophy by Nigel O'Connor during day four of the Monaghan Irish Challenge event at Concra Wood Golf Club. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

The legacy of legendary Irish golfer Christy O’Connor Jnr will live on at this year’s Stone Irish Challenge as it is once again contested on a course he designed, with the memorial trophy bearing his name awarded to the tournament’s low-Irishman.

Headfort New, the host venue for this year’s Stone Irish Challenge (10-13 October), was designed by the late Ryder Cup star and opened in 2000. Ranked as one of the ten best parkland layouts in Ireland, it will provide the exact sort of test that the European Tour’s next generation of stars need.

“A strength of the course is that it will force you to hit every club in the bag,” said Brendan McGovern, Headfort Golf Club Head Professional. “It’s a beautiful design and a perfect venue for one of the Challenge Tour’s last events of 2019.”

After O’Connor’s passing in 2016, the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy was created to recognise the low-Irishman in the tournament. Last year, the trophy was won by Conor O’Rourke when the event was held at another O’Connor design, Concra Wood. In 2017, Ruaidhri McGee claimed the trophy at Mount Wolseley—also an O’Connor design—while Dermot McElroy was the first to have his named etched on the award in 2016.

At the end of the season, the top 15 players on the Road to Mallorca Rankings will earn European Tour cards and join the 2020 Race to Dubai. The Stone Irish Challenge represents the final full-field event of the year and following the tournament at Headfort Golf Club, the Tour will travel to China for two limited field events ahead of the Challenge Tour Grand Final.

With several up and coming Irish golfers only a few good results away from earning a European Tour card, the battle for the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy will be more competitive than ever before.

Nigel O’Connor, son of the former Ryder Cup player and Dunhill British Masters champion, said: “Since its inception in 2016, we have been very proud to present the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy to the leading Irish player at the Stone Irish Challenge. It is a fitting tribute to our father, who played on the European Tour for over 30 years.”

The Stone Irish Challenge is free to attend and takes place at Headfort (New) from the 10th – 13th October. For more information CLICK HERE



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