July 10, 2018
Jessica Boal

GUI’s Stevens takes individual honours at immaculate Galgorm Castle

Galgorm Castle put its best foot forward as teams of sponsors and tournament ambassadors took to the immaculate championship course that will play host to the Northern Ireland Open next month.

On one of the hottest days of the year, suncream and shorts were the order of the day. Equally impressive was the calibre of scoring, both in the team event and the individual stableford competition. Credit to head greenkeeper Rodney McKay and his team for the course was in pristine condition with the greens rolling exceptionally well.

Some local knowledge came into play as Samuel Graham, Vice-Captain Galgorm Castle, was part of the winning team alongside Bill Henry (SAM Controls), Michael Callaghan and Roy Ferguson (P&O Ferries). They won with 96 points in a format where two scores from four counted at each hole.

In the individual competition Kevin Stevens, Secretary GUI Ulster Branch, came through to take the spoils with an impressive 41 points.

Pat Jennings teeing off from the first tee during the recent NI Open Sponsors and Ambassadors Day at Galgorm Castle Golf Cub in Ballymena (Photo: Ewan Harkness)

The NI Open is supported by Tournament Ambassadors made up of key figures from the local sport scene. Teams included ambassadors such as athlete Michael McKillop, local favourite Liam Beckett and legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who has been a keen supporter of the NI Open from the beginning.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather, it was a wonderful day and the course was set up superbly well,” said Jennings, who played alongside McKillop, BBC’s Joel Taggart and Nicky Paul from TaylorMade.

(L-R) Nicky Paul, Joel Taggart, Pat Jennings and Michael McKillop before teeing off at the recent NI Open Sponsors and Ambassadors Day at Galgorm Castle Golf Cub in Ballymena (Photo: Ewan Harkness)


“The course gets better and better every year, just like the NI Open itself. It’s great to see the NI Open so well supported each year. It has become a very important event for the young guys starting out, it gives them a great opportunity to compete in front of such good crowds and that’s what makes the NI Open very special.”

After the golf, players and guests enjoyed a reception and dinner in Fratellis Ristorante at Galgorm Resort & Spa.

“It’s hard to speak highly enough about Galgorm Resort & Spa, it’s absolutely immaculate. It’s great to see both Galgorm Resort and Galgorm Castle working so closely together,” added Jennings, noting the new clubhouse restaurant at Galgorm Castle that will be run by Galgorm Resort and will be open in time for NI Open tournament week.

And has Jennings been keeping an eye on the World Cup and what does he think of England’s chances?

“I’ve been watching as many games as I can,” said Jennings.  “Anyone could win it now with so many of the so-called big boys out, it’s all about how England perform on the day. [Gareth] Southgate is a good influence, he has been there and done it.”

“I was there in 1966 at Wembley when England won. It was a great memory.”

As for the NI Open, it takes place at Galgorm Castle from August 16-19 and continues to be free to enter for all the family, simply register for tickets online at

This year’s event will be action-packed, both on and off the course, with “something for everyone”.


A festival of golf with something for everyone


– World class field

– Former Ryder Cup players

– European Tour winners

– Homegrown stars

(Gavin Moynihan, Cormac Sharvin and more)

– Tournament Ambassador

(Michael Hoey)


– Pro-am day

(Local celebrities)

– NI Open Village

(Food and drink/public bar)

– Interactive activities

– Gin Fest

– Exhibition Area

– Driven Club NI (Supercars)

– Artisan Food producers

– Junior NI Open

– Kids Fun Golf Area

– Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail


NI Open Show stage

(Live acts during the week/DJ in the NI Open Village)

– Gin Festival

– New Galgorm Resort & Spa restaurant at clubhouseduring the week/DJ in the NI Open Village)