NI Amateur Open offers Challenge Tour spot
 Knock's Colin Fairweather in action during the 2017 NI Open at Galgorm Castle. Photo: PressEye)

Knock's Colin Fairweather in action during the 2017 NI Open at Galgorm Castle. Photo: PressEye)

A place in the Challenge Tour's NI Open at Galgorm Castle will be up for grabs at July's NI Amateur Open.

Sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena and Srixon Cleveland, a 77-strong field will tee it up in the 36-hole event at Galgorm Castle on Tuesday, 18 July, just one week after the North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush.

Knock's Colin Fairweather booked his place in the NI Open last year with a winning total of 146 while Reeve Whitson (2010), Cormac Sharvin (2012), Dermot McElroy (2013) and current Ireland international Tiarnan McLarnon (2015) are all former winners.

“I always enjoy competing at Galgorm Castle," said McElroy, who is now a professional. "Through winning the NI Amateur Open in 2013, I booked my place in the NI Open and had a great week competing against some of the best players in Europe. 

"I managed to finish tied ninth that year as an amateur and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

The NI Open is integral to the development of elite Irish amateurs and young professionals seeking to make their mark in the paid ranks. 

No amateurs will gain an automatic place at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin but up to six amateurs will be invited to compete in the Irish Open Qualifier at Rosapenna. 

This means winning the NI Amateur Open is a rare opportunity for the 2018 champion to test their game against the best professionals in Europe.          

The NI Open takes place at Galgorm Castle from August 16-19 and will be one of the standout events on the European Challenge Tour. 

More than 43,000 fans attended last year and this year promises to be another week-long celebration of golf.

“We will have another action-packed week of activities, both on and off the course, for all the family," explained Ross Oliver, Director of Golf at Galgorm Castle.  

"I am particularly looking forward to the GolfNow Junior NI Open, which was a great success for our budding stars of the future. The Junior NI Open will again be played on our pitch and putt course throughout the week of the event.

“Every year we introduce something new to the NI Open and this year will be no different. We’ll have an outstanding new clubhouse bar, restaurant and roof garden in partnership with Galgorm Resort & Spa, which will serve up one of the best dining options in the country.

“Also new for 2018 will be the NI Open Showstage where live music and bands will play over the weekend of the event and further add to the festival atmosphere.” 

Entry for the NI Amateur Open is £35 (€45) and includes lunch. 

Forms can be downloaded from galgormcastle.com and entries close on Monday 3rd July 2018. 

For further information, contact the Galgorm Castle Professional Shop on +44 (0) 28 2564 6161.

Entry to the NI Open is free but you still need a ticket.

To get yours, simply register online here