Paul McGinley can put his Ryder Cup disappointment behind him when he bids for a hat trick of wins in next week's £110,000 Smurfit Irish Professional Championship.

A convincing winner at Baltray last year, the Dubliner will defend his title at Castlerock in Derry, starting next Thursday.

McGinley, who won the title for the first time at Fota Island in 1997, has made good on his promise to defend his crown.

Former champions Philip Walton, Des Smyth, Martin Sludds, Eamonn Darcy and Neil Manchip will join him in the 101-strong field.

Malahide man Walton won his fourth Irish Professional title at Belvoir Park in 1995, the last time the Championship was played in Northern Ireland.