Fota Island in Cork ready for stage six of season

Fota Island in Cork ready for stage six of season

July 5th, 2011

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The PGA EuroPro Tour heads to the prestigious Fota Island Golf Club in Cork, Ireland, for the sixth event of the season.

This venue hosted the Irish Open on the European Tour in 2001 and 2002 and the resort’s par-72 Belvelly course stages this week’s Audi Cork Irish Masters.

The best of Europe’s developing players will be competing for a £10,000 winner’s cheque that will boost their chances of a top-five place in the tour’s 2011 Order of Merit, which would earn them a spot on next season’s Challenge Tour.

Each of the top nine on the money list are playing at Fota Island, including all of the 2011 winners so far – Jamie Abbott, Stuart Archibald, Graeme Clark and Chris Hanson, a winner at Bovey Castle and again last week at Galgorm Castle.

Danny Nickless, the EuroPro Tour’s operations manager, believes it shows how strong the Tour is by having events at venues like Fota Island.

“Obviously Fota Island has had an Irish Open here and we’re so excited to be coming here to play a course at that level. It’s certainly one of the top five venues we as a tour have been to over the last 10 years and as a venue they do things properly.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the Irish pros, guys like Noel Fox, who have always come over and supported the tour in England as somewhere to play and it gives them that stepping stone to the next level.

“These guys aren’t big names like Padraig Harrington but it’s a fine line between them and the top boys and we’re giving them that stepping stone to that. People who come and watch will be amazed at the level of golf they’re seeing.

“These guys are the future and in five years we might be sitting here saying so and so played at Fota Island five years ago and he’s just gone and won the British Open.

“We’ve got a lot of Irish guys playing on the tour and most of our 12 invites for this week have gone to Irish players so it’s a great opportunity to use this as a springboard to the European Tour.”

The EuroPro Tour reaches Fota for the sixth of 15 events this year having last week visited Galgorm Castle in Ulster where Englishman Chris Hanson climbed to the top of the Order of Merit with a play-off win over compatriot and previous top dog Graeme Clark.

Tommy O’Flynn was looking forward to playing a tournament at his home course said. “I feel comfortable at this level and I came from quite a high amateur level as well but the amateur scene never really suited me, all that links golf, and turning pro seemed the best option.”

Other EuroPro Tour players were also excited with Sandeep Grewal describing Fota Island as ‘a quality venue’, while Tom Boys summed up Fota Island as ‘awesome’.

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