Belvoir Park Golf Links, Belfast: Golfing Union of Ireland, 1949. pp. rare programme to a great event. Won in 2016 by Rory Mclroy. The 1949 winner Harry Bradshaw won by 1 stroke over Bobby Locke.
The first Irish Open in 1927 was played at Portmarnock Golf Club from 16 to 18 August. There were 18 holes played on the first two days with the leading 60 players and ties playing a further 36 holes on the final day. In a stiff breeze local professional Willie Nolan led after the first day with a course record 72. On the second day Nolan faded after an 81 and the lead was taken by Henry Cotton on 146 with Jack Smith a shot behind. The cut was 165 and exactly 60 players qualified, including 6 amateurs. Conditions were very poor on the final day with the refreshment and press tents blown down and rain falling in torrents. Jack Smith had an excellent 77 in the morning and with Henry Cotton taking 86, Smith had an 8-shot lead over Cotton and Archie Compston. Smith, however, went to pieces and had a final round of 91 and was overtaken by Cotton, who took 81. George Duncan, starting the final round 14 shots behind, scored 74 and finished with a total of 312, beating Smith by 3 and Cotton by 1. Duncan's score of 74 was remarkable in that it was only two strokes over the new course record, on a day when his 74 and Smith's 77 in the morning were the only two rounds under 80 on the final day. Duncan took the Championship Gold Medal and the first prize of £150. Nolan was the leading Irishman, finishing fifth.
In 1932 and 1933, the Irish Open was preceded by an international match between teams of English and Irish professionals. England won the first match 16–2 and the second match 13–3 with 2 halves. The matches followed the same form as the England–Scotland Professional Match that had been played just before the Open Championship.
The Irish Open has generally been played in June, July, or August, but from 2004 to 2009 it was played in May, the week before the BMW PGA Championship. In 2010 and 2011 the tournament was moved to a later date at the end of July, while from 2012 to 2014 it was played in late June.
The Irish Open enjoys one of the largest galleries on the European Tour. In 2010, the Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club had an attendance of 85,179 over four days, second only to the BMW PGA Championship. In 2011, the Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club tallied in excess of 86,500 over four days. This was again the second highest on the European Tour to the BMW PGA Championship. In 2012, the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club had a record attendance of 112,000 over four days; 131,000 over the six days. This was the only time a European Tour event had sold out prior to play on all four days and was the highest attendance ever recorded on the European Tour.
Since 2008 it has been the only European Tour event played in Ireland. The European Open was held at the K Club in Straffan for thirteen years from 1995 to 2007 while the 2007 Seve Trophy and the 2006 Ryder Cup were the last major team competitions played in Ireland. Item #5107
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