August 21, 2018
Scotland’s Calum Hill holding aloft the NI Open trophy that was commissioned and made from fallen trees at the Dark Hedges as seen in the TV hit series Game of Thrones(PressEye/Peter Morrison)

Scotland’s Calum Hill holding aloft the NI Open trophy that was commissioned and made from fallen trees at the Dark Hedges as seen in the TV hit series Game of Thrones(PressEye/Peter Morrison)

Player and  celebrities’ views on the “best event on the European Challenge Tour”

PRESS RELEASE:Northern Ireland Open 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 21st, 2018

2018 Northern Ireland Open
Venue: Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Ballymena
Twitter/Hashtag: @galgormcastle#NIOpen
Website: niopen.golf
2018 NI Open Review (European Tour)

As the dust settles on another dramatic Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf, we take a quick moment to reflect on another highly successful event plus look ahead to the plans for 2019.

No one could have predicted the manner in which Scotland’s Calum Hillclaimed this year’s NI Open title, even the player himself was surprised to have landed his first European Challenge Tour event.

Sympathy was felt everywhere for Hill’s compatriot Scott Henry, who seemingly had the title locked in, but for a late collapse at the end. The preferred outcome is always to see a player go on and win rather than witness a player come unstuck. Sunday’s dramatic conclusion simply illustrates how difficult it is to win on tour.

Henry will have other days, his golf and the manner in which he dealt with the disappointment were impeccable. For Hill, it was his time. It was a slim opportunity and he took it with a blistering final round 64 that included four birdies in his final five holes compared to Henry’s double bogey, bogey, bogey finish.

“I didn’t even think it would be close. It didn’t even cross my mind as I was playing 18,” said a surprised Hill after receiving the trophy and cheque for €28,800.

As for Henry, his emotions were at the other end of the spectrum. “To finish the way I did was pretty devastating,” said the Scot.

It was a good week for a handful of Irish players with Cormac Sharvintied ninth on 14-under and five off Hill’s winning total of 265. The Ardglass golfer also received the new Bridgestone trophy and £250 bonus as the best Irish player under 30. Clandeboye’s Johnny Caldwell was two strokes further back on 12-under and one ahead of Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy. Unfortunately the Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey missed the cut.

The European Tour highlights of the NI Open will be shown on Sky Sports Golf tonight (Aug 21) at 10pm and will be repeated at midnight and again at midday on Aug 22.

The BBC NI highlights programme by Stephen Watson will be shown on BBC1 Northern Ireland on Monday, August 27that 10.35pm.

Included in the link below is an initial outline and editorial relating to the 2019 NI Open and the introduction of a ladies event. Further announcements about 2019 will be made over the coming months. More details here


Northern Ireland Open Golf Championship at Galgorm Resort & Spa.
Scotland’s Scott Henry playing on the 18th hole during the final round. Picture by Peter Morrison/Presseye

A selection of quotes from players and celebrities at the 2018 NI Open


Calum Hill (Scotland, 2018 NI Open Champion)
Superb feeling to win, especially on such a good course and an event that’s ran so well. Can’t thank the sponsors and organisers enough for the way they set up the event so magnificently.

Michael Hoey (Tournament Ambassador)
This is as good as a small European Tour event, I’ve been saying that for years. The infrastructure, the spectators, tented village, hospitality, players’ lounge, media centre and courtesy cars. Some European Tour events don’t even have all this.

It’s far superior to any other European Challenge Tour event, even the big ones in China and Dubai. It’s always a pleasure to play here at Galgorm. I love being associated with such a great tournament. It’s easy being the Tournament Ambassador. Gary and all the team do the heavy lifting. All I have to do is turn up and play some golf.

Cormac Sharvin (N Ireland)
The course is excellent. It keeps getting better every year. For me is definitely one of the best parkland courses in the north.

Johnny Caldwell (N Ireland)
It’s great having people so many people watching, it focuses me to play well. Great tournament, great set up.

Dermot McElroy (N Ireland)
It’s great, it’s obviously a home event for me and I always get plenty of support from family and friends.

Michael McGeady (Ireland)
Great event, great for the region, brings a lot of money into the local economy, plenty of bed nights and accommodation at the hotels and B&Bs. It’s great to have it so close to home, long may it last.

Chris Selfridge (N Ireland)
Really, really good tournament, great test. Greens are perfect as always, so pure. Perfect for making putts.

Oliver Wilson (England)
By far the best place we come to all year. Fantastic hotel, the course is brilliant, always in great condition. Set up like a proper tournament should be with greens always running well. Always fantastic crowds. It’s a great week, one the players always look forward to.

Simon Dyson (England)
Love the event. It has the feel of a normal European Tour event. The crowds are always brilliant in Ireland and the course is fantastic.

Ross McGowan (England)
Great tournament. The course is lovely, the greens are always very good. Always look forward to the week. The NI Open is like a main tour event. I’m sure in years to come it might become one.

Richard Finch (England)
Course in great condition which obviously helps with low scoring. Came last year and really enjoyed the place

Mark Flindt Haastrup (Denmark)
My second time playing at Galgorm. The place is amazing, the whole service with shuttle cars, spectators and food court. And the course is one of the best we play all year, it’s perfect.

Minkyu Kim (South Korea)
It’s my first time in Northern Ireland and I’ve have really enjoyed it.

Leona Maguire (Ireland)
The NI Ladies Open back in 2007 was the first professional event Lisa and I played in. I think we might only have been 12 or 13 when we played at Hilton Templepatrick. It’s fantastic news to see a ladies’ event coming back to Ireland. A lot of people have been asking me when will I compete at home next? It will be great to tell them we have a ladies’ event to play in now in Ireland. That’s a huge deal.

Lisa Maguire (Ireland)
It’s fabulous up here. A lot of people are excited about 2019. Already such a well-supported event. Great to see the support golf gets in Northern Ireland. To play alongside the men in 2019 will be something special, something different. 


Stephen Ferris (Rugby)
Try to get here every year to support the event. Brilliant to see so many people come out and support the event. Next year will be very exciting with a ladies’ tournament.

David Healy (Soccer)
Fantastic tournament, been involved for a few years now. Anytime you get the invite, it’s always a pleasure to come up and play. Gone from strength to strength, building for the future after likes of Rory [McIlroy], Darren [Clarke] and Graeme [McDowell], who helped put Northern Ireland on the map for golf.

Pat Jennings (Soccer)
Always great to play with the pros and see how this game should be played. Beautiful course. Any day on the golf course is always a good day, though I’d struggle to earn a living at this game, think I would starve!

Keith Gillespie (Soccer)
Fantastic event. Just gets bigger and better every year. Look at calibre of players on show. I’ve been lucky enough to play in the Pro-Am a few times too. One of the biggest and best tournaments on the tour. Great to see it so well supported and exciting times ahead with the ladies’ event in 2019.

Michael McKillop (Athletics)
You see the size of crowds that are here just for the Pro-am and you realise the scale of the event, it’s incredible.



cormac_sharvin_trophy.jpgCormac Sharvin from Ardglass receiving the Bridgestone trophy from Arlene Wray after finishing as top Irish player under 30. (PressEye/Peter Morrison)


scott_henry_18.jpg Scott Henry plays his approach into the 18thgreen during the final round of the Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf  (PressEye/Peter Morrison)