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Golfing world remembers Christy, hero of the Belfry

By Ed Carty

Published 07/01/2016

Christy O’Connor Jnr seals victory for the 1989 European Ryder Cup team with victory over Fred Couples of the USA. The event finished in a 14-14 tie, allowing Europe to retain the trophy
Christy O’Connor Jnr seals victory for the 1989 European Ryder Cup team with victory over Fred Couples of the USA. The event finished in a 14-14 tie, allowing Europe to retain the trophy

One of the biggest stars of Irish golf, Christy O'Connor Jnr, has been remembered as a gentleman and sporting inspiration after he died in Spain.

The 67-year-old from Galway memorably helped Europe win the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in 1989 when he fired a stunning shot with his two iron to within a few feet of the 18th hole.

O'Connor Jnr's famous 220 yard shot to win at The Belfry is an image that has pride of place in many minds of Irish golf and sport fans.

Up against the world number one at the time, Fred Couples, and the oldest man in Team Europe, O'Connor Jnr had been written off by large sections of the media before he took to the course that day.

Among his other wins were the Irish Open in 1975 and the Dunhill British Masters in 1992.

Later, after joining the over-50s ranks, O'Connor Jnr won by three-shots in the 1999 Senior Open Championship at Royal Portrush before returning to Northern Ireland a year later to successfully defend the title at Royal County Down.

O'Connor Jnr, who is survived by his wife Ann, son Nigel and daughter Ann, had been on holiday in Tenerife when he died in his sleep.

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