Home­town He­roes

Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - NORTHERN IRELAND -

DAR­REN CLARKE Brought up in Dun­gan­non, now lives in Portrush

“It will be a proud mo­ment for me when Royal Portrush hosts The Open. I’ve been hav­ing lit­tle words in im­por­tant ears for a while about it go­ing there! It will sell out in no time – it will be ab­so­lutely mas­sive – and I can’t wait for all the world’s best play­ers to play my home course be­cause I know they will love it. I’ve been in­volved in­for­mally with the changes, walk­ing around with the ar­chi­tect Martin Ebert and the new holes are awe­some. I hon­estly don’t think there is go­ing to be a weak hole out there now it is all fin­ished.”

GRAEME MCDOW­ELL Brought up in Portrush and learnt his golf there

“The Ir­ish Open showed we could ex­e­cute a Ma­jor cham­pi­onship again in Portrush, but we are thank­ful to Pe­ter Daw­son and the R&A for show­ing the faith that we could do it. My lit­tle brother Gary is on the greens staff and they were ex­cited to get their teeth into the ren­o­va­tions and the new holes. I was there in April to play the course for the first time since the changes. It was great. The two new holes add to the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and it’s nice that you stay by the ocean a bit longer. With the bank­ing that there is round the back of those holes, you can just imag­ine thou­sands of peo­ple there on an Open Sun­day.”

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