Rory McIlroy reckons he can complete the missing link on his CV when the Irish Open returns to Baltray from May 14-17.

The County Louth gem was confirmed as the host venue yesterday and teen genius McIlroy, 19, would love to make it the scene of his first tour win.

While he'll have played ten events including the US Maters by the time he touches down in Drogheda, McIlroy said: “I’d love to get a win under my belt before the Irish Open but if I had to wait, I couldn’t think of a nicer place to get my first win than Baltray. That would be fantastic.

“It is a place that I know pretty well from the East of Ireland. But my caddie JP Fitzgerald grew up there and he knows the place like the back of his hand. I’ll have a bit of advantage, I think, with JP on the bag.

“It’s going to be a really good venue for me and while I thought Adare Manor really suited my game, it’s a nice change to play links golf and I know Baltray better than most.”

The news that Baltray will play host for the second time since 2004 ends speculation over the future of the event that have lingered since Adare Manor pulled out of the final year of its three-year agreement because of massive financial losses.

Sports Minister Martin Cullen has already announced that communications giants 3 Mobile will sponsor the event for the next three years with a €3m a year deal expected to be made official soon.

And while it remains to be seen where the event will go in 2010, the news has gone down well with Irish tour players like McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Damien McGrane.

Tied second behind 2004 winner Brett Rumford and Irish Open champion two years ago, Harrington said: “I am delighted to hear that The Irish Open is returning to Baltray. It is certainly one of the most exciting links courses in the country and one I have enjoyed playing in the past.  I look forward to the tournament being a great success.”

McGinley is a big fan of the course where he won the Irish PGA in 2000, adding: “I was a member at County Louth as a junior. The event has probably gone from the best inland course in Ireland - Adare Manor - to the best links course in Ireland, in my opinion, at Baltray.

“Baltray hits the nail on the head for the spectators from the north and south. We have that new road from Dublin to Belfast which encourages great crowds, so it ticks all the boxes as a venue.”

Around 70,000 fans turned up in 2004 when the event was played the week after the Open.

But that figure could be smashed in May if triple Major winner Harrington snatches the third leg of the “Paddy Slam” at Augusta National in April.

Ulsterman Darren Clarke is another fan of the course where he captured the 1989 East of Ireland and beat Harrington 3 and 2 in the 1990 Irish Close final

But Meath man McGrane, a first time winner on tour last year,  is also pleased to see the event played just 28 miles from his front door.

McGrane said: “I think it is the place it should be. They had a very successful Irish Open there in the past and it is a place that all the players will look forward to going back to again.

“I’ve played the course a number of times and it is probably the closest links course to where I live.

“I don’t think the Irish Open has to be on a links course but Baltray is a fine venue and one all the players will enjoy.”

Following extensive renovations for the 2004 Irish Open, the biggest change to the course is a new, shore-side tee at the 12th that will ease congestion in that corner of the course.

And while Baltray came in seventh behind the likes of Royal County Down, Portmarnock, Royal Portrush, Ballybunion, Waterville and the European Club in Golf Digest Ireland’s Top 100 list last year, Sports Minister Cullen is delighted to put Irish links golf on TV screens all over the world again.

Failte Ireland wanted an east coast links course to promote Irish golf abroad and will be investing an estimated €1m of taxpayer’s money in the event this year alone.

Minister Cullen said: “In my contacts with golfers of the European Tour, I have been very conscious of their desire to play on Ireland's world renowned links courses.

“While they have greatly enjoyed playing on the excellent parkland courses on which The Irish Open was staged in recent years, they relish the challenges posed by a links golf course.

“The televising of The Irish Open throughout the world will also provide the opportunity to promote Ireland as an attractive location for golfing leisure holidays and sporting tournaments.”

European Tour boss George O’Grady added: “We look forward to announcing a new title sponsor in due course, but at the moment we are absolutely delighted at the prospect of a return to one of the most superb, natural links golf courses in the world.”