Bradley to play at Irish Open

Published Tuesday, 08 May 2012
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Three of the four current holders of golf's major titles will be in action at Royal Portrush when it hosts the Irish Open next month, with USPGA champion Keegan Bradley joining the lineup.

Bradley to play at Irish Open
Bradley during the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. (© Getty)

The American will compete in a field that also includes the local duo of Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, who are US and Open champions respectively.

Bradley, whose roots are in Co Cork, has never before played a professional tournament in Europe and says he is "doubly excited" ahead of the upcoming event on the North Coast.

"I'm very proud of my Irish heritage and I've wanted to represent them in the Irish national championship," Bradley said.

"Also Graeme (McDowell) and Darren both have told me what a fabulous lay-out Portrush is, so I'm doubly excited about the opportunity to compete there."

The competition will be played on the links of Portrush between 28 June and 1 July - the first time it has been held at the highly-rated course since 1947.

Calls for its return were prompted by the back-to-back US Open victories of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy in 2010 and 2011, followed by Darren Clarke's Open Championship win last summer.

Keegan Bradley became the only the second player since 1913 to win on his first-ever appearance in a major, beating compatriot Jason Dufner in a play-off in Atlanta.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said it is a "major coup" to have him involved in the Irish Open.

"To have a reigning US PGA Championship winner taking part is a major coup and delivers an even greater competitive edge to this tournament," the DUP minister said.

"It proves that a small place like Northern Ireland can produce top golfers and that we have what it takes to host tournaments which attract some of the best players in the world."

© UTV News
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