Irish Open invitations for Hoey, Moynihan and McElroy
 Gavin Moynihan is congratulated Dermot McElroy after his win on the Europro Tour earlier this year

Gavin Moynihan is congratulated Dermot McElroy after his win on the Europro Tour earlier this year

Five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey and Team Ireland grant recipients Dermot McElroy and Gavin Moynihan have been award invitations for next month's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart.

Former BMW PGA winner Simon Khan has also been given a golden ticket for the $7 m event from Category 6A (Professional Invitations) but it remains to be seen if further Team Ireland players will hear good news with two invitations remaining.

There are no amateurs in the field this year (Category 6B - Amateur Invitations) as it is a Rolex Series event with strict criteria and pressure on places.

The GUI would have been unable to send any of its preferred top six players as they will be travelling to the European Amateur Team Championships in Austria during the Irish Open.

However, it appears that there will be no amateur presence (6B) in the event from 2018 and the CGI (GUI, ILGUI and the PGA) will be keen to push the case of Team Ireland players with our amateurs likely to be offered spots, on request, in non-Rolex Series events instead.

The entry criteria for the Irish Open makes no provision for amateurs unless they are included among the six invitations:

ELIGIBILITY:
a) Players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday 10th April 2017
b) Players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings as of Monday 12th June 2017
c) 6 professionals from within the top 25 of the Final 2016 Irish Order of Merit.  
d) The balance of the field will be completed in accordance with the 2017 European Tour Exemption Category List excluding Categories 6 & 8.
e) 6 tournament invitations   

NB. The top 10 Regulation applies from the HNA Open de France into this tournament.

Ballymena's McElroy, 24, is currently third on the Europro Tour Order of Merit while Dubliner Moynihan, 22, who has won on the Europro Tour this year (edging out McElroy), reached the final of the Challenge Tour's Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9 last month and lies 11th in the Road to Oman standings.

Ireland's two leading male Team Ireland grant recipients, Gary Hurley and Chris Selfridge, will be anxiously waiting for news over the coming days.