Ciaran Molloy will be in action in the Northern Ireland Open Challenge at Galgorm Castle later this month.Blackwood assistant professional Ciaran Molloy fired a five-under par 67 in today’s pre-qualifier at Galgorm Castle to book his place in the Northern Ireland Open Challenge at the end of the month.

The trainee heading into his second year is familiar with the Ballymena parkland having won the North of Ireland Strokeplay amateur event there several years ago.

Having made steady progress to reach the turn in level par 36, Molloy’s round ignited on the back nine as came home in five-under 31.

“I got it round nicely, didn’t hole many putts early on but then picked up birdies at the 10th, 13th and 17th before holing from 20 feet at the last for eagle,” said Molloy after his round.

“That was a nice way to finish and just made sure of qualifying,” added the 29-year-old, who was one of five players to book their place in the £145,000 (€170,000) European Challenge Tour event from August 29-1.

Molloy, who was straight back to work at Blackwood pro-shop after his round, finished one shot ahead of Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge), who carded a 68. Shandon Park amateur Chris Carroll (69) also booked his place, as did Shane Franklin (unattached) and Old Conna’s Neil O’Briain with a pair of 71s.

Molloy won a PGA Sprint event at Seapoint earlier in the year and “as long as the boss gives him time off” he plans getting a few more rounds under his belt before the Galgorm showpiece.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always shot under par when I’ve played Galgorm so I’d fancy my chances of making the cut. I’ll have to play well but if I get a run at it I could be in for a decent cheque if things go well,” he said.

Pre-Qualifier Tournament for the Northern Ireland Open Challenge

Galgorm Castle Golf Club (Par 72)

Qualifiers (5)

67 (-5) Ciaran Molloy (Blackwood GC)

68 (-4) Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC)

69 (-3) Chris Carroll (a) (Shandon Park GC)

71 (-1) Shane Franklin (unattached), Neil O Briain (Old Conna)/

(a) denotes amateur